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Ushers enforce marshmallow ban with student ejections

Kate Antonacci | Monday, October 4, 2004

Cooler weather on Saturday meant students packed on layers of clothing, allowing some to conceal an usher’s worst nightmare – marshmallows. As halftime approached, many seniors prepared for their traditional section-wide marshmallow fight, as stadium personnel manned the aisles waiting to catch throwers.

Coordinator of stadium personnel Cappy Gagnon said seven students were kicked out, and two or three more were spoken to by ushers, but allowed to stay in the stadium.

Of the seven students ejected from the game, four held ticket booklets in section 28, two in section 29, and one in section 35, a freshman section.

Students’ ticket booklets were confiscated and their names were given to the Office of Residence Life and Housing.

“This is just a ResLife matter,” Gagnon said. “I don’t want to see students go to ResLife for something silly like marshmallows. But we just can’t tolerate the occasion of throwing things. I don’t know a state in the country that permits people to throw things. I looked the other way for two or three years because it was smaller and pretty harmless. But each year it has gotten worse.”

Though marshmallow throwing did not occur as much at past home games this year,

Gagnon believes it will only get worse as the season progresses. He believes the colder weather allows for more hiding places for sneaking in marshmallows.

“The first game was hotter, which means you wear less clothing which means you have fewer hiding places,” he said. “The second game, one usher was somehow able to locate six or seven or eight bags of marshmallows before halftime began, so he confiscated them. But this game we didn’t do that. We caught hardly any marshmallows before.”

The criteria for ejection from the game are simple.

“Clearly, if we catch you with a bag of marshmallows, you are out of there,” Gagnon said. “We are looking for the people that either somehow have secured a group of marshmallows or the ones that are throwing them aggressively. There are some that are enjoying it a little bit too much. Those are the people who we are looking for.”

But many students question why stadium personnel do not try to stop the marshmallow throwing as it is going on. Gagnon said in the past, ushers have tried to interfere, and they ended up being the targets.

“Our strategy is to stand back, watch the throwing, make sure no one gets hurt,” Gagnon said. “At the end, we have zeroed in on the people – my term is the ringleaders – and those are the ones we tried to grab.”

The issue of “stuffed marshmallows” was also a concern this year, as it has been in past years.

Students have been known to add pennies, golf tees or small rocks to the marshmallows to make them go further, Gagnon said.

“I don’t believe that our students want to hurt anyone, but a marshmallow doesn’t go very far,” Gagnon said. “So if you put something in it, then it is heavier. For a while it was considered a cute thing to get it down onto the field, or into a band instrument, or near an NBC camera.”

Gagnon said it is not only the safety factor that concerns him, but also the disrespect shown to the band while they are performing.

“I’ve spoken to the band leadership about it,” Gagnon said. “I think for all of them, and some or many of the band members, it’s a little bit of an insult because they work real hard on their halftime presentation. They purposely face the Notre Dame sideline, and the people who are right in their view are not even looking at them.”

For some band members, however, the marshmallow throwing is not an issue.

“I have actually never heard a band member complain about the marshmallow throwing,” said sophomore Tim Capecchi, a baritone player in the band. “It does not bother me. Personally, I think they are just using the band to shoulder the blame. Hardly anyone in the band actually cares. It’s just an excuse to stop the seniors from throwing marshmallows.”