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Purdue nostalgia

Tori Roeck | Monday, September 10, 2012

Saturday’s game was nostalgic.

The Class of 2014 shares the same first home game experience as the Class of 2016, characterized by a sunny day, a victory over the Boilermakers and a collective, unquenchable enthusiasm. But the first home game of my junior season had a different feel from that of freshman year. It felt familiar.

Having never been to a college football game before, let alone one at the iconic Notre Dame Stadium, I was overwhelmed as a freshman. What do I do before the game? If I go up for pushups, will I fall to my death? Will I flub the words to the Alma Mater?

A resident of God Quad’s finest Walsh Hall, I woke to the sounds of tourists and the smell of propane that Saturday at 9 a.m. It wouldn’t have been that bad, except the upperclassmen banged on our doors at 6:45 a.m. to run through Stonehenge and sing the Alma Mater in front of the stadium. Exhausted, my roommate wasn’t planning on getting up again until noon, but I dragged her out of bed. “MC, get up!” I cheered. “People are out and about!”

The only people “out and about” were old alumni and their grandchildren. After wandering aimlessly for a couple hours and realizing we didn’t know anyone hosting a tailgate, I’m pretty sure we ended up doing homework. Nevertheless, we arrived at the stadium eager for some Notre Dame football, and the vibe in the student section was unparalleled.

The most striking aspect of the experience was the same as that of my first mass in the Basilica: the volume. Just as students sing out with “full heart and voice” at Basilica mass, a sea of green shirts erupted into the fight song with a power I had never felt before.

While gameday is still magical for us, we upperclassmen will never again be able to harness the wide-eyed wonder of that first game freshman year. I now know when to cheer and when not to cheer, but sometimes I’m too lazy to pump my fist or hit that high note. How did we stand so long without complaining? My legs are sore! And while I still woke up pretty early Saturday, it was only so I could squeeze in some practice LSAT questions before my day was shot.

I learned from housing visitors this summer that I appreciate my hometown much more when seeing it through someone else’s fresh eyes. In the same vein, I can’t wait to bring my best friend from home to his first Notre Dame game in two weeks.

Maybe I will embrace my inner freshman and wake up the echoes at 9 a.m.?

Or maybe not until 10 … or 11.

Contact Tori Roeck at vroeck@nd.edu

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.