Tens of thousands of Irish fans attend Blue-Gold Game
Meg Handelman | Sunday, April 13, 2014
Hundreds of fans poured into Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday to watch the Irish scrimmage in the annual Blue-Gold Spring Game, a tradition that began 85 years ago.
Students and fans threw tailgates, dressed up in Notre Dame gear and shouted traditional cheers throughout the game. Officer Tim McCarthy with the Indiana State Police shared his first joke of 2014 with the lively crowd. The official attendance number was 27,986.
John Rydberg, a freshman in O’Neill Hall, said, “My friends and I decided to go all out for this game. It didn’t matter at all that it was just a scrimmage. In the end, it’s more about school spirit and having fun than anything else.”
For many seniors, the game represented their last Notre Dame football game as students.
Senior Kelsie Corriston said, “It was a little nostalgic to be there, realizing that I would never watch a Notre Dame football game as a student again. But I will most definitely be back in the years to come to cheer for the Fighting Irish.”
The Shirt 2014, which was unveiled Friday, was worn by band members who played traditional favorites. This year’s Blue-Gold Game marked the last time the Irish would play on the grass field; after commencement weekend, the University plans to lay down FieldTurf to replace the current natural grass field.
A portion of the proceeds of the game support the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley, who sponsor scholarships for area high school students attending Notre Dame next year, according to UND.com. The names of those students were announced during a halftime ceremony.
A number of visiting prospective students also came out for the game to experience Notre Dame football for the first time.
Julia Frank, a senior in high school planning to attend Notre Dame next fall, spent the weekend touring campus.
“It was such a great experience to spend the weekend here,” Julia said. “Now I’m so excited for the fall to come. I almost don’t want to go back to high school.”
Not all students were able to make it out to the game, however. Admission was free for students.
Freshman Ruth Cooper said, “I have two tests and two papers this week, and I knew I needed to spend Saturday studying.”
“Sometimes you just have to prioritize. Yes, football is fun, but in the end, we are here to get an education, and that always comes first for me,” freshman Megan Pogue said.