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Students use rallies, dorm events to bolster spirit

Katherine Gales | Friday, November 7, 2003

Though many students are disheartened by this year’s football season, pep rallies and dorm events try to revive student spirit.

“The football team is not performing,” said David Guthrie, a Sorin freshman, “and our spirit is lagging because our team is struggling.”

Justen Cheers, a Knott freshman, had a different perspective.

“I go to the pep rallies because they’re fun,” he said, “and even though the team is down I’m still behind them one hundred percent.”

Hall presidents are working diligently to keep students enthused and supportive of the Irish this season.

“The Cavanaugh girls go to the pep rally together for the one we host – this year is the first one,” said Valerie Ralph, a sophomore and co-president of Cavanaugh Hall. “It’s frustrating, as a president, to put together groups to go when spirit isn’t high and large turnouts are rare. It’s hard to plan to get spirit act together when people are so disappointed.”

Matt Kinsella, a junior and co-president of Keenan Hall, agreed with Ralph.

“One thing we do [to get spirited] is bike joust,” he said. “It’s pretty much what it sounds like – we use crutches and joust at each other while riding bikes.”

ESPN’s The Season taped the men of Keenan bike jousting last week.

“It’s rough to get the guys to come out for the pep rallies,” said Kinsella, “But if you get them out front, they get pretty pumped up.”

Like most dorms, the Keenan men dressed up for the first pep rally and last week’s as well. Residents showed their spirit by wearing kilts, costumes and blue-and-white face paint.

Some students are enjoying the football season, despite the team’s disappointing record.

“I’m having a great time with the football season,” said McGlinn freshman Tiffney Gulick. “I’m with friends that I can have fun with and, as a wise woman told me once, the great thing about Notre Dame is that even if this present is unpleasant, we can still live in the past.”

Although the season has been difficult, students still keep faith in their team at pep rallies, and prove themselves lifelong fans.

“I’m from South Bend, and I’ve been going to [Notre Dame] games since I was six; first with my parents, and now as a student,” said Sarah Cunningham, a McGlinn senior.

“I’m lucky in the sense that I’ve seen some awesome seasons and firsthand witnessed plays by Jerome Bettis and Rocket Ishmael. But it is sad that my last year as a student will not be remembered as a good one. I hoped we would win a national championship while I was a student. Still, some of my favorite memories are from football weekends. Now I hope my sister, who is a freshman, will get to see Ty lead the Irish to a national championship.”