Hoosier and Proud
Alex Carson | Wednesday, February 11, 2015
I’m an Indiana kid. It’s the only state I consciously remember living in and since I started at Notre Dame, it’s been something of which I’ve felt proud.
Above all else, it’s probably the nature of Notre Dame’s student population that makes me feel that extra pride in my home state — after all, there aren’t too many Hoosiers here. And in an odd way, I like that. Be it knowing and accepting our state’s super weird liquor laws or just understanding how beautiful Indiana sunsets can be. I feel like there’s a part of me that wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
I’m a Hoosier and more often than not, I try to make it known.
But until I got here, I didn’t think of myself that way.
I was born in Youngstown, Ohio, not Indianapolis. My parents and I moved when I was 17 months old, but that doesn’t mean that everything about us changed.
Rather than adopting the hometown Indiana teams, I stuck with my dad’s allegiances as a Cleveland sports fan. And since just about our entire family still lives in Ohio, seemingly every Memorial Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas, we got in the car and made the drive back.
It’s surely a big part of the reason why growing up, I considered Ohio “home.” It’s where I came from, where my family was, where my favorite pizza places were and where I spent many Christmas Eves anxiously awaiting what Santa was going to bring me overnight.
And growing up, I didn’t try to mask my Ohio roots. Whenever the Cavaliers were in town, I’d always go to the games, decked out in my full arsenal of Cleveland gear. Or there were the trips to Kings Island, where I’d always point out how great Ohio was.
Looking back on it, though, I think I’ve figured something out. I looked at what made me different rather than what made me the same. Instead of looking at myself as a Hoosier growing up, I focused on my Ohio roots and considered myself a Buckeye. It was something that I could take pride in, something that made me unique.
And then fast forward to the first day I set foot on this campus as a student. Instead of just accepting that we were all students here, I started thinking of myself as a Hoosier. What once made me like everyone else had suddenly made me unique.
But does it really matter? Sure, we come from all over and our origins and identities shape who we are, but doesn’t it matter more who we are, rather than where we come from?
So maybe next time you’re meeting someone new, try focusing on what you share, rather than establishing something you don’t have in common.
Because, I mean, they’re probably from Chicago anyways.