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Freshmen react to first football game of the year

| Monday, September 7, 2015

Saturday marked the first home football game of the 2015 season, and though the entire campus was abuzz with the excitement of starting a new year, only a fraction of the spectators – 2,011, to be exact – were experiencing that particular thrill and anticipation of attending a Notre Dame home football game for the first time as a student.

Freshman Edna Ofelia Martinez said the game versus Texas was her first Notre Dame football game.

“I think part of what made it such an incredible experience was getting to sit with all of my closest friends,” Martinez said. “We had a blast cheering and jumping and whooping … all in all, I wouldn’t take back a thing about my first Notre Dame game.”

Many freshmen reactions to the 38-3 win over the Texas Longhorns reflected a learning experience to the traditions and norms that come with being a member of the student section.

“I wasn’t completely sure about the words to all of the chants, but it was fairly simple to pick up on,” Martinez said, “The dance to the Celtic Chant is my favorite. With some of the other ones, it was a little hard to pick up on what people were saying, but I managed O.K. I now know most of the words to our Fight Song and the Alma Mater.

“The first touchdown, I didn’t go up. I was still confused as to what that all meant, but once I saw everyone up in the air, I wanted to get in on the next one. So on 14-0, I went up. It was such an incredible feeling to be lifted and see all the green below me. And I went up for all the other touchdowns as well.”

Freshman Joseph Levano said the school spirit in the student sections was remarkable.

“Just between the spirit that everyone had in the stadium and the way everyone got so into the cheers, even though I went in knowing nothing about the traditions, everyone there just instantly helped you pick up on it and bought you in,” Levano said.

Freshman Alexa Coubal said singing the Alma Mater with the football team was a unique experience, but the other chants and cheers were difficult to catch onto.

“I had difficulty with some cheers and the dancing on bleachers was definitely a struggle for me, but it was still really fun. It definitely exceeded my expectations because people were constantly cheering and so hyped all the time,” Coubal said.

Many voiced the sentiment that experiencing the game from the insider viewpoint of a community member distinguished the experience from simply fun to meaningful.

Freshman David Bran said tailgating was the best part of the gameday experience.

“The tailgating blew my mind, the game itself was fantastic, and the atmosphere throughout the entire day was unbelievable,” Bran said. “Despite all I’ve heard about it before, it really did [surpass my expectations]. I’d heard about how great it is to be around so many Irish fans and how intense it gets in the stadium, but nothing compares to how it actually feels being there.”

Conor Kelleher, a freshman in Dillon Hall, said he particularly enjoyed the traditions in his dorm.

“We went for a morning run and jumped in the lake and ended up on Sports Center, which was probably the pinnacle of my existence, in which I was shirtless and yelling right in the camera lens.”

Freshman John Stankovich said he was most impressed by how unified the alumni, students and fans were at the game.

“It was amazing to see how the extended Notre Dame family, as well as the Notre Dame family at the University itself comes together to support one common cause of a Notre Dame victory,” he said.

Stankovich also said singing the Alma Mater after the game was unforgettable.

“At the end of the game when the University sings the Alma Mater, it was truly an amazing moment and one that I’ll never forget as a freshman,” Stankovich said.

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About Andrea Vale

Andrea Vale is a freshman at Notre Dame who has previously written for both the Sun Chronicle and the Huffington Post. She plans to major in English with a Creative Writing concentration and a minor in Journalism.

Contact Andrea