The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



SMC athletes assist with football parking

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Notre Dame football players may not be the only ones exhausted at the end of game days. Tailgates, hours of standing and post-game celebrations often leave the fans drained of energy; but for some Saint Mary’s athletes, it is the long hours spent supervising football parking for the 80,000 fans that leaves them exhausted.

Each athletic team at Saint Mary’s dedicates their time on one game-day morning per season directing traffic into the Saint Mary’s lots. The athletic teams have been supervising pre-game parking for at least 15 years, if not longer, said Lynn Kachmarik, Saint Mary’s athletic director.

The effort of SMC student-athletes helps finance the teams’ expenses and provides a unique bonding opportunity, Kachmarik said.

To remain consistent with other parking options in the area, Saint Mary’s charges $15 per car and raises between $4,000 and $10,000 per weekend, Kachmarik said. The money from each weekend goes into a general fund until the end of the football season, when each team is given an appropriate percent of the profits.

“The number of shifts a team works is divided by the number of total shifts available, producing the total profit,” cross-country coach Jackie Bauters said. “For example, if [members of the cross country team] work one of 12 shifts, we’ll get 1/12 of the total profit combined.”

The team uses this money to pay the salaries of assistant coaches, fund training trips and buy extra equipment.

“All the time we put into parking seems worth it to me because everything we need is paid for, which relieves stress,” said junior Amanda Trevino, a member of the Saint Mary’s softball team.

Junior Stefanie Broderick, a member of the SMC basketball team, also said although parking may be frustrating at times, the monetary reward makes it worthwhile.

“Our team never looks forward to doing the football parking, but we realize that every team has to do it, and it is a major source of fundraising,” she said.

Not only do the teams benefit financially, many athletes said the experience provides them with an opportunity to bond. Trevino and Broderick both said they have always worked with at least one other teammate, which has helped prevent boredom.

“At times, parking is a lot of fun,” Trevino said. “We get to be loud and jump around in order to get people to come in.”

Broderick also said she enjoyed the company of her teammates.

“Having the whole team doing it together is nice – it makes the weather bearable and the time pass more quickly,” she said.

A typical morning of parking consists of holding signs on Route 33, collecting money and directing traffic on Saint Mary’s campus. The teams usually begin their shift at 6:30 a.m. and continue until half an hour before the game begins or until the lots are full.

Kachmarik said space is never a problem and teams are usually on duty for the full seven to eight-hour shift.

In the past, teams have cut this shift in half to give the athletes a break. This was not, however, an option for the women’s basketball team this year.

“This year [the athletic teams] weren’t able to do shifts,” Broderick said. “The basketball team had to do the entire 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. shift, and it was tiring.”

Trevino has also supervised parking and said she knows the frustration of the long hours.

“The experience of directing traffic can be draining. The morning can go so slowly sometimes,” she said.

But Trevino said the monotony of parking is alleviated by the variety of people who come to campus.

“The people who come to park are generally respectful and appreciate what we do. You get to see a lot of different people who talk to us about the team,” she said.

The student athletes must also brave the elements and continue their shift no matter the weather. At the start of the football season, teams often must supervise parking in the intense heat. As the season progresses, however, the athletes must bundle up for the cold – and sometimes snowy – conditions.

The cross-country team will be supervising the parking for the first time in mid-November.

“We’re working a cold weekend, so [the athletes] are a little worried about freezing,” said Bauters.

To make the weather easier to endure, the athletic department provides water, juice and hot cocoa. Trevino said while beverages are always on hand, access to food is limited unless the athletes bring their own.

Bauters said she will work alongside her athletes during their shift, just as many coaches do, to show support for the team. This involvement helps build team morale and gives the athletes an opportunity to bond with their coaches in a different setting, Bauters said.

“What [parking] really does is bring our individual teams and the athletic department as a whole together in a common cause,” Broderick said.