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The joys of interhall

Kate Gales | Friday, October 10, 2003

Everybody knows that Notre Dame is all about football. However, what most people don’t realize – unless they’re students – is that the real football isn’t on Saturdays.

Sure, we buy The Shirt and wave shillelaghs and shake our keys on third downs – we love the game. But being a spectator gets old after a while. And that’s why interhall football defines Notre Dame to me.

I started high school with a ready-made group of friends – my field hockey teammates. It made the transition from elementary school to high school that much easier. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that comfort zone coming here to college. The first week of school was a difficult changeover for me.

However, during Frosh-O, a sophomore told me about her favorite Notre Dame activity – interhall football. It sounded fun, and a great way to get to know the people in my dorm, so I went to the first meeting.

The highlight DVD of last year’s season was more professional than anything I’d seen in high school varsity sports. Practices were serious and our coaches looked tough.

Suddenly I was having second thoughts about coming out for football – watching it on Saturday afternoons with my dad was different than Cavanaugh interhall.

Joining the football team was the best thing I have done so far this year. I’ve gotten to know so many people in my dorm, especially my fellow clueless freshmen.

I got two really cool T-shirts and some hot green-and-white striped socks. Our coaches give advice on everything from doctor’s appointments to what to buy for our brothers’ birthdays. They send inspirational e-mails and lead us in cheers on the sidelines.

Six weeks ago, I didn’t know a defensive lineman from a linebacker. Now I can impress my friends by explaining that we run a mix option/passing offense with a lot of trips right and three back sets, mostly just to grind out some yards from down series to down series.

Some high school teams could not rival our 60-page playbook, and watching our defensive coordinator call three-two-cover-two plays from the sideline will never cease to amuse me.

There’s nothing better than football on a crisp October Sunday afternoon. Playing it, however, has given me a new appreciation for the sport. I don’t get into the games much, but watching from a sideline is a much better view than my 50th-row seats in Notre Dame Stadium. I’m so impressed by the girls on the team and their skills; I feel like they could teach trained receivers a thing or two. I can’t believe the time and effort our coaches invest in us – they’re truly wonderful people.

And I can’t wait for the postseason.