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The Cheering Thousands

Sep 7, 2011, 10:05 AM EDT

If you were on campus for the season opener, I understand that the outcome of the game might have spoiled your memory of the new player walk to the stadium.

Notre Dame football weekends are about much more than the result on the scoreboard, but I recognize the fact that an Irish loss can negatively impact one’s memory of what may otherwise have been a great weekend. If you can, I suggest that you try to separate the two (and forget about the bad weather and rain delays) because from what I watched on Saturday, this different path might be the start of a great new Notre Dame tradition.

One of the changes to this year’s player walk that I like is the recognition of Notre Dame’s residence hall life. To acknowledge the hall that they live (or lived) in, the players wore pins with the dorm’s insignia on their blazers.

As students, residential life is such an integral part of the Notre Dame experience. For as much pride as we take in the University, sometimes the pride and sense of family within one’s dorm is an even stronger feeling.

We root for the Irish in every game, match, or race, but we especially cheer for those who share the dorm identity that we hold close to our hearts. From Knights to Ramblers and Shamrocks to Purple Weasels (or any of the 25 other dorm mascots), we love to see “one of our own” shine on the field, court, pool, strip or track.

As for the walk itself, I think the change was met with a great response from fans. Everyone seemed to be aware of the fact that the location and schedule had been adjusted, and many fans still gathered outside the Basilica to greet the team on their way to Mass.

I watched the team at the beginning of its walk near the Gug and also as they entered the stadium. Along the entire route, thousands gathered to cheer on the Irish as they made the shorter walk across campus. While the walk itself is shorter, the team’s drive through the main tailgating lots and the location closer to the stadium give more fans an opportunity to wish the Irish well before game time.

From the weather to the final score, little seemed to go right for the team and fans on Saturday. There may be few positives we can take away from Notre Dame’s season opener, but one we certainly can enjoy is this new tradition.

It was a special scene on Library Quad and hopefully one that will only continue to grow throughout 2011 and beyond.

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