Luck of the Irish


It was Labor Day weekend.  The sun was shining and the weather was perfect.  It was going to be an incredible day!  Excitedly a friend and I packed a cooler with food and drinks as we prepared to leave and begin our pilgrimage to Notre Dame Stadium.

It was my hope that this day would mark the beginning of a football season of redemption.  Perhaps Notre Dame could make a bowl game in Brian Kelly’s first year.  Maybe the Indiana Hoosiers could score enough points, since they can’t play defense, to make a low level bowl game.  I hoped that the Colts could put together a strong regular season and make a deep run into the NFL playoffs.

It appeared like it was going to be a great football season.  IU had won their first game.  My friend Kari and I witnessed Notre Dame defeat Purdue the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.  My college teams had all gotten off to a good start.

The following weekend the Colts lost to the Houston Texans.  Soon the Colts roster would be decimated with injuries.  Indiana would alternate between playing uninspired games against mediocre opponents or lose in the last second to nationally ranked teams.  Notre Dame’s season has been defined by injuries, difficult losses and the tragic death of a student videotaping a practice.  It would be an understatement in saying that this is not the football season that I was hoping for.

Yet, this weekend I will brave the elements, along with a co-worker and his father, to make one final trip to gaze at Touchdown Jesus, sit in the stadium that Newt Rockne built and cheer Notre Dame on to do the impossible, beat the top ten ranked Utah Utes.

The weather forecast for Saturday is for rain with high temperatures in the 40’s.  It will be damp and chilly.  The possibility exists that Notre Dame will be unable to remain competitive for the entire game, making it feel all the more cold and uncomfortable.  An obvious question that some people have asked me is why?  “Surely,” they say, “you have better things to do on a Saturday than traveling three hours in bad weather to watch Notre Dame likely get blown out by Utah.”  Another question that I find myself often being asked is why, as a blind person, do you bother going to so many sporting events in the first place?

The answers to these questions are simple.  Obviously when you go to a sporting event your purpose in attending is to cheer on your favorite team.  As comfortable as a person might be watching the big game on their couch, enjoying all of the amenities of home, there is nothing better than getting caught up in the atmosphere and excitement of witnessing something live and in person.  Whether you are a fan of Notre Dame or not, or whether you even care about college football, most people acknowledge that experiencing Notre Dame on game day is a unique opportunity.  The rich tradition coupled with the interaction between the team and the student body makes it a special place.  Besides, a real fan cheers on their team regardless of the weather or the type of season they are having.

Whether a person can see or not is not important when attending a ball game.  All 80,000 people in the stadium on Saturday will share the same identity; simply that everyone is a fan of Notre Dame.  When a player is unexpectedly not on the field, or there is a controversial call, a person who is blind and has a radio, suddenly becomes the most important person in their section.  Everyone wants the information that I am getting from the radio broadcast.  Attending a game is not so much about who wins or loses; instead, it is about the shared experience that you have with other fans.

On Saturday morning I will dress in layers and make the long trip up to South Bend.  All the while I will be hoping for the impossible, that Notre Dame can play a near perfect game and somehow upset Utah.  Crazy?  Maybe, but never count out a team that has the luck of the Irish!



A Frighteningly Good Time

Welcome back to the Dobbs Blog!

It has been a while since I have written an entry, but I am now comfortable with my added responsibilities here at work and I am excited to start blogging again!  Today I would like to share with you a horrifying and frightening adventure of my trip to Nechropolis, City of Darkness, one of the top 25 haunted houses in the country located here in Indianapolis.

As a general rule, I don’t really celebrate Halloween.  I don’t have any children and I never have candy on Halloween to hand out to trick or treaters.  Last Friday night though, I had nothing to do so a couple of friends and I decided to celebrate Halloween by going to the best known haunted house in Indianapolis.

After purchasing our tickets we stood in a long line waiting to enter the outer chamber.  It was cold and I was lamenting the fact that I did not wear a jacket.  I continued complaining to myself how cold it was when suddenly I quit caring about the cool temperatures.  Something was standing near me.  It was a random monster who had walked up.  He made a groaning sound and when he walked he dragged one leg behind him.  He reminded me of a monster from the old Scooby-Doo cartoons.  He made his groaning sound again.  I took a step and he followed me, continuing to violate my personal space.  I was not scared, but it was a bit unnerving!  He showed me his mask and I discovered that this creature also had some really crazy hair.

Not long after another strange monster-like creature began mingling with the crowd.  This guy wore a top hat.  He wanted to know if I wanted to see his teeth and I quickly declined this frightening invitation.

Just before we entered the outer chamber, a final monster made its way through the crowd.  This monster had red eyes and a set of real crazy horns.  He also came equipped with sound effects.  He sounded like the real deal, an angry monster bent on causing destruction.  I was impressed.

Once we entered the outer chamber my friends and I encountered a witch.  She yelled at us to be quiet and stand on a set of footprints.  She sternly gave us the rules we were to abide by in our journey through the haunted house.  After she concluded her instructions we walked down some stairs into the dark haunted underworld.

Our plan was to walk through three separate haunted experiences.  There was a house, a hotel and a haunted underground mausoleum.  I was hoping to be able to completely distinguish each haunted place and describe what I encountered in great detail.  Unfortunately, there was so much going on and so many things to see that it all became a blur.  There are several highlights though, that I would like to share from my frightening journey.

As we walked through the first haunted house there was loud heavy metal music playing.  It was deafening!  People kept jumping out of things and there were grave stones everywhere.  It seemed like we were traveling through a maze.  I began walking cautiously when we approached a corner because I anticipated things would jump out at us.  I was not disappointed!  My friend who was in front of me kept jumping and trying to run away when various creatures would try scaring her.  Somehow I ended up leading my friends through the haunted house.  A scary guy jumped out at me, saw I was blind and quickly jumped back; his screams of horror silenced by the surprise of a blind guy leading sighted people through the haunted maze.

The second haunted place was the hotel.  The music that was playing attempted to create a sense of anxiety.  You could hear the sound of babies crying and the monsters in this hotel were at their frightening best.  As we journeyed along my friend began yelling out my name.  About two minutes later I felt something on my left shoulder.  Suddenly a voice growled: “Where are you going Shawn?”  I jumped!  I had successfully been scared in a haunted house.  I began laughing hysterically as we pressed on into the darkness.

Throughout the remainder of our time there were several more monsters, strange creatures and frightening experiences.  As we walked back to our car an unexpected thing happened.  Without any warning, a guy with a chain saw came out of the darkness and ran at us!  We screamed and tried running the other direction.  As we slowed down he had somehow caught up with us and I heard a chain saw roaring straight at us again!  That was a great final touch because even though you expect that kind of thing to happen in a horror movie, I did not anticipate that my friends and I would encounter a chain saw wielding mad man after leaving the haunted house.

Excluding a haunted hay ride that I went on a few years ago, I had not been to a haunted house since college.  I had decided that my blindness would take all the fun out of going through a haunted house as most of the scare tactics are visual in nature.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my blindness did not cause me to have any less of an enjoyable experience than my friends who are sighted.

It was truly a fantastic evening and I had a frighteningly good time!


Dobbs Blog: iPhones and Fishing!

“I read a study recently that said 98% of college students have a cell phone.  Last week, however, I had an experience that caused me to stop and question the degree that I am willing to trust my beloved iPhone…” Read more here!

Strange Brew! New Dobbs Blog Post

“It all started last winter.  I was traveling in Southern California and Mexico with some friends.  A buddy of mine and I were talking one day, and we thought that it would be fun to try brewing our own beer.” Story continued here . . .

If You’re Blind, How Do You Find The Person of Your Dreams?

Shawn Dobbs’s new post about internet dating on Dobbs Blog here. True Romance

Brian Petraits, Our Senior Manager of Industries Featured (again) in Star Story!

Laura and Brian at the 15K training race

Laura and Brian Petraits finish the 15K

Brian and Laura Petraits have been training with the Bosma Mini Marathon Team for the big race this Saturday in downtown Indianapolis.

They were featured (again) in this Indy Star story! Laura is guiding her hubby of less than a year on this 13-mile race because Brian is blind. It’s a great story, but the story behind the story is that Brian and Laura are great people and just an adorable couple, plain and simple.

New Video on Bosma YouTube Channel!

Bosma Mini Marathon Team

Bosma Mini Team after the 15K 4-10-10

Check out the definition of TRIUMPH! as Bosma Sign Solutions employee Connie Bernard crosses the finish line of the 15K Indy 500 Festival Mini Marathon training run this past Saturday! Connie, who is legally blind, will be running in her THIRD Mini Marathon this year (or is it four?) after having her leg pulverized and reconstructed from being struck by a car crossing the street about ten years ago. SHE is tough! And we’re so proud of her!

Click here to view the short video