Two years ago at this time, there was a mixture of confusion, anger and sadness spreading throughout the Stanford Football fanbase. The beloved Notre Dame train trip was being discontinued, and Cardinalmaniacs™ were mourning the loss of one of the great travel traditions in all of college sports. In much the same vein that The Bootleg started its initial print publication a decade ago to fill a void for Stanford sports fans, we hopped to the rescue by announcing an emergency train package just six weeks before the October 5, 2002 game in South Bend. It was an unmitigated success that left satisfied passengers begging us for the next 18 months about the next voyage. After much consultation with our legal counsel, plus hours of professional therapy, we have decided to answer the call and are launching the 2004 Notre Dame Boot-Train.
For the last several Stanford games against the Flailing Irish in South Bend, the Stanford Alumni Association had put together a package of transportation, camaraderie, food, drink and much merriment to get Cardinalmaniacs™ from Chicago to the game and back on game day by way of train. It was frankly a wonderful and unique service for Stanford fans, which the SAA pioneered and made wildly successful through blood, sweat and tears. Although the Stanford Alumni Association's tour group couldn't do the trip for a reasonable price in 2002, we at The Bootleg sponsored the event ourselves and cut the cost to $109 per person (game ticket not included) by organizing it directly. The SAA was going to have to charge $160 that year, and thus this transition to the Boot-Train was a great boon to you the consumer. Once again defying the fundamental tenets of economics, we are nailing the lid shut on a price increase by holding the cost this year to $109. Adjusted for inflation, we have inexplicably made this vaunted voyage cheaper!
For those who have not previously been on this treasure trip, let me paint a picture. You arrive at the Randolph Street Station early on the crisp Saturday morning of October 9. Though the city is not yet alive, you sense a heightened level of electricity as you head underground and see a sea of cardinal. In a town all too saturated with leprechauns and Domer hysteria, you know you are boarding a train amongst kindred Cardinal spirits, and fellow rabid fans. As you board the train, you see an array of breakfast goodies and coffee awaiting you, and you are handed your own special Bootleg souvenir of the game and trip. The nourishment for your body is welcome, but it pales in comparison to the nourishment for your Cardinal & White soul that the next couple hours will bring. You look to your left and your right. All the rows ahead of you and all behind you are packed solid with Cardinalmaniacs™. The mix of ages might surprise you, with a couple rows of twenty-something and thirty-something folks ahead, and some vivacious octogenarians just behind you. Though the generations span seemingly discontinuous cultures, the unifying bond of Stanford fandom makes quick friends, blind to age. As a younger buck myself, I personally love the breadth of experiences from all the chats you strike up... especially the stories.
Depending on your fancy, you can imbibe some yell juice as the train approaches South Bend, or you can also partake in non-alcoholic drinks. The ride back tends to be a little more rowdy, with more courage for people to throw down drinks as they revel in the game day experiences and prepare for a night in the Windy City.
And the beauty of this whole shindig is that it allows you to go see the good guys Take Down Ty™ without spending your weekend in South Bend! Stay in Chicago and enjoy the nightlife of Rush Street, the world class deep dish pizza and the shopping at Water Tower. No worries about driving or parking early Saturday morning, plus the freedom to have a few drinks each way.
Frankly, this is the only way to go watch the Notre Dame game. Those who have been there will tell you, and those who are jumping to go on their maiden voyage will not be disappointed. It is the Stanford sporting experience of a lifetime.
So, get on the Boot-Train while you still can. We have no plans to take walk-ups on game day (October 9), and urge you to get your reservations in today. There is limited seating, and we are marketing this through several regional and national channels. We know of the demand from what the Alumni Association ran in recent years, and we sold out two years ago with just six weeks notice. Don't delay, and get your order form filled out and mailed in with your check today! That train is pulling out on October 9, and we want you on board!!!
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