Well, the good Lord certainly has a sense of humor. After migrating with the 18 Stripes crew to our current home 2.5 years ago, I am finally writing my first official article for this site…and it just so happens that today is the Feast of Saint Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers and journalists. Lord knows we need all the divine help we can get!
Why have I emerged from my long literary hibernation, you ask? Well, as you may have heard, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish captured the 2018 NCAA women’s basketball national title in spectacular fashion…and this title run was so incredible that it inspired me to dust off my humble editing skills and compose a fitting tribute to our NDWBB ladies. So kick back and relax as I tell the tale of how this 40-minute movie came into existence…
ICE IN THEIR VEINS: NOTRE DAME’S EPIC 2018 TITLE RUN
Just over six years ago, the Notre Dame Football team was riding high on the momentum of a 12-0 season, and the entire fanbase was prepared to go out and stomp those nobodies from Alabama. Into this firestorm of hype rode a man named Shawn Myers, who — completely out of nowhere — dropped a bombshell on the Notre Dame faithful with his epic 35-minute highlight reel of NDFB’s undefeated season. Although our lads eventually fell a bit short in the title game, Shawn’s video lives on as an enduring memorial to the legendary plays, games, and characters that made that season possible.
Fast-forward to Easter Sunday 2018: the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame had just won the NCAA WBB national championship, thanks to another ho-hum legendary buzzer-beating game-winner from Arike Ogunbowale. Eight days later, still euphoric from the ladies’ victory, I foolishly told the world that I was going to make an epic highlight movie in the vein of that 35-minute NDFB film from 2012. (Feel free to laugh at the part where I said it would be “markedly shorter” than 35 minutes.) Thanks to the ND Twitterati egging me on (especially @IrishElvis), I decided to back up my promise, and I got to work.
In the spirit of that epic 35-minute ND football video from 2012, I’ve decided to embark on a similar (though markedly shorter) venture to honor the @ndwbb championship season. It’ll take a while, but I promise it’ll be worth it!
— First Down Moses (@1stDownMoses) April 9, 2018
Frankly, the hardest part by far was finding footage for all the games. When I discovered some SD videos of the CSUN and Villanova games, I felt like I just won the lottery, especially since early-round NCAAW games are rarely — if ever — recorded and posted online. (My eternal gratitude to Sports Girl for her channel!) Thankfully, if you can live with the slight fuzziness of the first couple games, the later games are in glorious HD.
However, the heart and soul of this video lies in the music accompanying it. One of the things I love best about Shawn’s NDFB film is the way that the music underscores/intensifies the footage and allows the in-game visuals to “speak for themselves,” as it were. Although I am not a professional video editor by any means, I am a MASSIVE soundtrack geek, so I had a blast finding the perfect soundtrack for each game:
- “Here Come The Irish (Live)” — The introduction song that needs no introduction.
- “Wonder Woman’s Wrath” — A pounding war theme that accompanies our destruction of CSU Northridge, just like Wonder Woman demolished her foes on the battlefield.
- “High C’s” — A soaring, swashbuckling Two Steps From Hell piece that mimics Villanova’s unrelenting air raid (ten 3-pointers in the first half!), which set the stage for the Irish responding with their own long-range barrage.
- “Best Shot/Hoosiers Theme” — An all-time classic theme of basketball triumph (written by the composer of “Rudy”, no less!). Perfect for ND getting its long-overdue revenge on Texas A&M — the same team that broke our hearts in the 2011 NCAAW title game in Indianapolis.
- “Run Free” — “Hold on, FDM, you can’t seriously use a song from a cartoon movie about horses!” My dear imaginary strawman, you are sadly mistaken…because if Hans Zimmer writes a slow-building, heart-pounding song about a wild mustang’s daring escape from captivity, then it’s definitely worthy of inclusion. Much like the game versus the Ducks, it starts off calmly, but then picks up steam and grows wilder as the Irish and the Ducks trade insane scoring runs, capped off by Oregon’s furious comeback attempt in the final minutes.
- “Enchantress” — Believe it or not, this song (yet another jaw-dropping composition by Two Steps From Hell) is actually the tune that first gave me the idea for this 40-minute project. I had initially thought, “Yeah, I could definitely see myself setting the entire postseason to this one song”…but I soon realized that that would be an insult to condense the rich narrative of the NDWBB title run, so it became the backdrop for the legendary win over the hated UConn Huskies. My words don’t do it justice — just watch and enjoy.
- Finally, I saved the best for last. The championship game features “Sirius” for the introductions — the same tune used by the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan glory years. The first-half footage is set to NFL Films’ “Season in the Balance”, showcasing the bleak despair of being suffocated by Mississippi State’s defense (ND only mustered a season-low 3 points in the second quarter) and left for dead with a 30-17 halftime deficit. But from halftime onward, “The Miracle” provides the perfect finale for Notre Dame’s legendary second-half comeback and Arike’s title-winning buzzer-beater. I mean, what could possibly be more fitting than the epic music from the frantic final minutes of the Miracle On Ice?