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A girl’s guide to football

Laura Myers | Thursday, October 9, 2008

Question: What’s the one place in Notre Dame Stadium where, at halftime, the men’s room has a line and the women’s room is deserted?

Answer: The press box.

I usually get some friendly jabs from my fellow sports writers in The Observer office due to my gender, mainly centering on how the sports guys must not have been paying attention when they kept me on staff rather than sending me to News or Scene.

For the most part, though, I don’t think my presence in the press box on football Saturdays is very different from that of any other writer. Granted, I don’t think Bill Brink would proclaim a desire to marry Michael Floyd, but that’s his loss. (By the way, Mike, the offer stands.)

I’ll admit, my knowledge of football isn’t nearly as complete as that of most boys. I compare it to a foreign language – even though I’ve studied it for years, I will never be at the level of a natural-born speaker.

However, I have plenty of female friends who know a lot less than I do. I don’t blame them; I’m pretty sure I’m one of four girls at ND who didn’t come from an all-girls Catholic school.

Girls ask me all the time to explain something to them, to give them a talking point or even to explain who the players are. So here’s my attempt to put a few necessary Irish football facts into laywoman’s terms.

First, the offensive line. This little touted group is the most important part of the football team. An effective line blocks the other team’s defense from getting to the playmakers. Thus, the quarterback doesn’t get sacked (our line is doing well on this so far) and the running backs have a place to run (not quite as well, but still better than last year). Without the offensive line, Jimmy Clausen would be getting knocked over more than Charlie Weis.

Second, USC. The Trojans are our biggest rivalry, and yes, that does matter. We’ve hated them since the days of Knute Rockne, which is why today we cheer every year when they get pummeled by Oregon State and why we refuse to speak to people wearing their gear. As a recent historical reference point, you can bring up the Bush Push (look it up, I can’t get into it without crying like a Cubs fan). If that awful event is ever mentioned, you must shake your head and give a long, sad sigh, showing that you know what happened just a few years before you matriculated and, most importantly, that you loathe USC.

Sadly, I’m only two points in and I’m fairly sure I’ve gone over my word count. I leave you with some good conversation starters sure to impress any guy:

“Check out that great blocking! Jimmy had all the time in the world to get off that TD pass!”

“%*&# USC!” Yes, you can start a conversation with that. I do frequently.

It’s very probable I’m going to have to write another one of these, because I’ve barely scratched the surface here. Heck, I didn’t even mention Mark May.