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Senior Season: The Grind

Oct 21, 2012, 1:04 PM EDT

When Brian Kelly came out for his post game press conference yesterday, one of the first things he commented on was the atmosphere of the locker room.

“I think the thing that was concerning for me the most is when our guys came in, and I didn’t sense a great feeling after winning a tough, tough football game,” Kelly said.

The football team and I were one in this regard. Sure, a win is a win, but there are all different kinds of wins. Our last two wins at home–Michigan and Stanford–were the kind of win that claim your heart as a part of Notre Dame. They were the kind of win that stays with you forever.

So what kind of win was this?

BYU was the sandwich game. In between Stanford and Oklahoma, no one was really thinking about BYU. We beat Stanford and everyone around me immediately started talking about Oklahoma. BYU was a given. It was a non-issue. Until it wasn’t.

True to my last post, there was never a moment during yesterday’s game when I thought BYU would be our downfall. Even when BYU had the ball in the fourth quarter and was making for our end zone, I knew our team would pull together. They have instilled that belief in me.

But I was scared for the future. What did this game mean for our future games? Again, I asked myself: what kind of win was this?

Maybe, just maybe, this was a learning win. Maybe it was a time for us to realize that every down counts, every block matters, and every game is crucial. Nothing is “a given” anymore, because any mistake could topple what has been the most magical season of my life.

I like that the players weren’t thrilled last night. Winning isn’t enough for them anymore just like it isn’t enough for me. We don’t want to scrape by. We want to be dominant.

So maybe the players weren’t as excited for last night’s win and neither were the students, but in the grand scheme of things, we should be. One game at a time now, that’s how it has to be. Maybe every win won’t end up with us storming the field or dancing in the stands, but they all matter. They matter because we matter. If we’re going to have more wins like Stanford, we have to have wins like BYU. That’s the slow and steady grind of a season like this. That’s what being undefeated feels like.

  1. tajmannion - Oct 22, 2012 at 2:24 PM


    I am an ’81 grad and have a long, abiding love for our University. I was at the BYU game this past weekend and reading your blog was a treat. It is more than encouraging to see that we are turning out such talented young scribes. You are a gifted writer. I enjoyed your post tremendously. Keep up the great work!

    • Lauren Chval ('13) - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:52 PM

      Thank you so much for your kind words. My experiences this season have gone beyond what I ever could have dreamed of. I’m glad that such joy comes across in my posts.

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