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Our class, our team, our final chance

Matthew Suarez and Andrew McDonough | Friday, November 30, 2012

As Notre Dame seniors, we have been through many bumps in the road. We have experienced the final remnants of the Charlie Weis era and the false promise of hope it provided, the heartbreak of a 6-6 season coupled with back-to-back 8-5 performances, and the tragedy of losing one of our own, Declan Sullivan. But we seniors limped into our final season with trust in our team, despite a look down our daunting schedule and the opinion of so-called “experts.” As this season progressed our trust has been rewarded but our joy has been mixed once again with heartbreak over the losses experienced by our senior leader, Manti Te’o, and all the trials the senior players have experienced. Counted out from the start, deemed irrelevant, our team has achieved the impossible – a national championship game in Miami.
A cause of this performance is found within the senior class, our unity, our strength and the bonds forged between the senior class and our football team. Together we have pushed through our adversity and together we have emerged on the other side, scarred but unbeaten in our final season. It is to the stands that Kapron turns to after a sack. It is to the stands that Manti salutes. It is not a one-way street, for in the team we find our strength. To the field we bring our hopes and dreams. On a crisp Saturday morning, we wake up early for the promise of the game. In our final season, it is the field and the players on it, wearing the brilliant, flashing, gold helmets that reflect the tradition of our University we look to for a unifying force. We have been everywhere around the world, from Ireland to Oklahoma, from Boston to Los Angeles, for our team, for our University. Nowhere else on earth can this type of bond be forged, but in the fires of tradition here at Notre Dame. Nowhere else can this spirit and the unity move a student body to such great heights.
And so, now we find ourselves at a crossroads. As students purchase flights and hotels in Miami, we remain hopeful of a ticket, the elusive golden ticket that will allow us to enter the most entrancing of  venues, the National Championship game. As seniors, we have poured our heart and soul out together, players and students, for one final season, one final game. It is to that final game that we seek our one last retribution for the prior tribulations of our careers at Notre Dame. The administration has pledged 2,500 tickets, beyond our wildest expectations. And yet, a source of doubt remains. For there are 2,500 tickets for more than 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students. And recently, we have learned that St. Mary’s and Holy Cross students will be allowed to enter the lottery as well, raising that number to more than 14,000 students. Only 2,500 tickets for 14,000 students is entirely unfeasible for granting we seniors a fair chance to cheer our team on to one final victory.
We ask from the administration the chance that every Notre Dame senior be allowed to purchase one ticket. No one has earned the right to travel to support the team more than us. What we ask is that every senior have the option of buying one ticket solely under their name, to be picked up on site. For every senior that passes on a ticket, that ticket would be entered into the lottery for the rest of the student body to be purchased.
What has allowed our strength and unity to never flag or fail this season is the connection that exists between our players and the Notre Dame student body, especially the bond between our senior class. We eat alongside the players, we live in the same dorms, we take the same classes and we have the same friends. We have pledged our hearts to the team. We have been there through thick and thin, through death and tragedy, through triumph and elation. We have earned the right to represent our University in Miami. We have emerged through all of this as one. We are the senior class. We are family. We are the Fighting Irish. We are ND.

Contact Matthew Suarez and Andrew McDonough at msuarez7@nd.edu and amcdono1@nd.edu
The views expressed in this column are those of the author sand not necessarily those of The Observer.