Some (other) reasons to cheer

I have a confession. I’m not that into football. Yes, even college football. Even Notre Dame football.

There, I said it.

I’m sure this will raise some eyebrows around here and it may be unwise to out myself to my co-workers, but the truth is I could take or leave the game itself.

Don’t get me wrong, I want us to win. I cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame because I love the place. But I’m not the attend-every-game or yell-at-the-TV type. Actually, I’m more likely to yell at my husband for yelling at the TV, and say things like, “Settle down, they’re just college kids playing football!” (Hmm… no wonder he likes to watch the game at a sports bar. I do usually make snacks though, so there’s that.)

Okay, so maybe I’m no fun as a sports fan. But here’s something that does get me fired up on game day, and the rest of the week – the off-the-field accomplishments of Notre Dame’s student-athletes. Take this, their #1 ranking in graduation rates. And this, football players out making a difference in our local community. It’s not so much touchdowns, but stories like these that make me want to stand up through the whole game and maybe do a few push-ups in the crowd.

Having known and spent time with a number of outstanding ND students who also happened to play on sports teams – Can I drop a name here? Brady Quinn was a student worker in our office, which may be a post for another day – I can’t help but see the young men behind the gold helmets, and think about how the game is affecting them personally, not just as a member of the squad. I know I will sound like, well, a bit of a geek when I say this, but that’s somebody’s son out there.

So maybe I know too much to get into the action on the field like a normal fan. Do I want them to win? Absolutely. But more importantly, I want them to be safe, to study and get a great education, to be good citizens and make their parents proud. Regardless of the team’s record at the end of the season, that’s what I believe makes them champions, and what “Go Irish” means to me.

Now go get ’em, you guys.

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