Notre Dame Fan Cave: Inabnit father-daughter duo are more than super fans
SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- This fan cave story starts right in the heart of the 574--a short 15 minute drive from the Notre Dame campus.
Where family, faith, and football go hand in hand.
Katie Bell certainly is not your average Notre Dame football fan.
"I am obsessed with Notre Dame," says Katie Bell, a die-hard Notre Dame fan.
Obsessed isn't the half of it.
“All encompassing. Every aspect of my life. Like my kids. I know you can’t plan kids but I was kinda hoping they would come in the summer so it didn’t interfere with football season. They were born on July 2nd," says Bell. “My husband and I try to save our trips for away games. We have a wedding Labor Day weekend that we will not be attending because Notre Dame opens at Florida State. It’s just my life.”
In fact, Katie is so dedicated to Notre Dame Football, it actually made finding love and a significant other a little challenging.
"When I was in college, I was dating someone and you know it didn’t work out, obviously. And so when I got broken up with, I received a list of reasons why I was broken up with," says Bell.
Yes, he sent her a list... and at the top?
“The number one reason was that I loved Notre Dame too much," says Bell.
Katie and her then-boyfriend did break up, but it wasn't until the COVID-19 pandemic that she took a stroll down memory lane.
Sharing the funny memory on twitter, laughing with family and friends.
Then, ND Nation chimed in.
“The next morning Mike Golic tweeted it. And then I was teaching and my watch was going off that Brady Quinn had tweeted at you And I was like oh my gosh," says Bell.
In a matter of hours, thousands weighed in--including quarterback Ian Book and Barstool Sports.
All cheering on Katie's dedication to the team and university they all adore.
“By the time I left work that night it had over 30,000 views," says Bell. “Brady Quinn was like he’s the loser not you! Go Irish!”
With more traction than Katie could have ever expected, this now wife, mother to twins, and avid Irish fan have another Notre Dame story to tell for years to come.
But where did this fire for the Fighting Irish come from?
Well for Katie, there really never was another option.
“I didn’t choose Notre Dame. I was brainwashed and brought right into it. I don’t remember consciously saying like yeah I’m going to love Notre Dame. I just can’t remember a time that I didn’t," says Bell.
Thanks to her dad.
“I just fell in love with them. And I can’t tell you what it was, whether it was...I just fell in love with them," says Katie's father, fan cave owner, and life-long fan Brent Inabnit.
Brent attended his first Notre Dame game back in the 70's when he was 10-years-old, and he's never looked back.
Planting roots here in Irish Country.
Building a life and raising a family who bleeds blue and gold.
“This was our first game together ever. That’s when she was 6 in 1999," says Inabnit.
Brent always wanted a son.
“When my mom was pregnant with me he got a basketball that said Zachary because he just knew it was a boy and it wasn’t a boy. They tried again and it was another girl and they tried again it was a girl so then he," says Bell.
“We threw the ball out!” says Inabnit.
"So they said I was like his son," says Bell. "He was taking me to do things that normally a father and son would do.”
Brent and Katie are the ultimate daddy-daughter, Notre Dame loving duo.
“We would go to dinner before especially the basketball games on the week nights we would go to Between the Buns," says Bell.
The pair able to recall every game, every score, every moment with the help of photo albums and plenty of time spent together.
“That’s all you have in life is memories, good times and creating memories. And you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow so you know I am going to take advantage of the opportunity to do that not only with Katie but Hanna and Grace and these are memories I will never forget," says Inabnit.
Memories tucked away permanently in the family fan cave.
From years worth of game day ticket stubs sealed in a table, to pictures and autographs from Rudy and Coach Brian Kelley.
Old stadium seats, helmets and more.
But it's never been just about football, the memorabilia, or even the online fame.
“It’s not just about football. It’s about life. And the relationships you have, and what you do for other people," says Inabnit.
“And we hope to pass that along to our two newest Irish fans," says Bell.
Immersing their family into the Notre Dame family they've come to know and love and gearing up for the next dream.
So what's next for the Inabnit family and their love for Notre Dame football?
“I would do anything to go to a national championship game and see them win in my lifetime. That’s my dream," says Inabnit.
“That's why I keep going to these bowl games to the playoffs. I just want to see it happen one time," says Bell.
“One time," says Inabnit.
But do they think it will happen in 2021?
“We’ll be there!” says Inabnit.
Katie will be cheering on the Irish at the Blue and Gold game, May 1st, from her favorite spot.
No, not the family fan cave but from Notre Dame stadium.
Bell was able to grab some last minute tickets and will be watching the Irish, in person, for the first time in over a year.