Somehow, despite all that is happening in the world, Notre Dame is still playing football. Whether this is a good idea or not, I am still not sure. Still, I am so excited to have football gamedays back! Our first one was this past Saturday against Duke, and it was a mixed bag.
Notre Dame is one of the few large universities in the country that is still playing football and is allowing their students to watch the game in the stadium. Therefore, the national spotlight is on us. It is worth reviewing and discussing our policies to see whether or not we were successful. Of course, COVID testing this week will be the real indicator of our success.
Gameday definitely looked very different this year. There were no tailgates allowed on campus, and only students were allowed into the game. Usually, our campus is buzzing with hundreds of Notre Dame fans and visitors. It was comparatively eerily quiet this Saturday, but we were bursting with excitement nonetheless.
I have always compared the first gameday of the season to Christmas Day for Notre Dame students. We wait all year in longing for that first game day to arrive, and we go all out when it finally does. My roommates and I were up at 8 AM blasting the fight song while I made a glorious brunch. The next big difference about gamedays this year is that while we usually attend parties of hundreds of students on the mornings of the games, this year gatherings were limited to ten people or less. Moreover, the rule was strictly enforced, and many people are involved in disciplinary hearings in the aftermath. The rule and its enforcement is definitely necessary for our safety, and we made the most of it by blasting music and playing games with our best friends.
Of course, we had to wear masks for the entirety of the game and at all times on campus (thank goodness). As for seating, the rule is that you can only seat with your roommates or housemates, and you are assigned seats as such. My roommates are my best friends and we were assigned WONDERFUL front row seats, so we were happy. However, this aspect ended up being the most dangerous and poorly-enforced point of the day. The ushers did not check seats, and people were moving to other sections constantly to be with their other friends. Many people were in close proximity to others who were not their roommates, and the ushers seemed to not have any power to stop it (not blaming them, it is clearly the students’ fault!). Luckily we were all outside and wearing masks, but of course there is still a high risk. I expect for there to be more stringent seating rules for the next game.
One fun feature at our game was that instead of having a kiss cam on the big screen, we had a “social distancing cam”, which pinpointed groups that had to spread out. It was both funny and effective!
For all Notre Dame students: please make good choices this week so that we can have another gameday this Saturday, and be smart about it if we do! Keep yourselves healthy with lots of sleep, healthy food and supplements (check out Astaxanthin), and distanced time with your friends. Lastly, go Irish, beat USF!