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Pep rally invigorates students

Ken Walsh | Monday, September 27, 2004

After last year’s disappointing football season, Notre Dame students and fans at Friday’s pep rally said they are finding renewed enthusiasm in their team, partly due to

motivating speeches from past football greats.

Students and fans at Friday’s pep rally listened to speeches from Notre Dame’s 1964 Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte and sports analyst and broadcaster Dick Vitale.

“Dick Vitale, I thought, was extremely motivating,” said Notre Dame senior Kasey Rak. “You could tell he was very emotionally driven.”

Vitale’s speech outlined the duties and responsibilities that a student athlete, particularly a Notre Dame football player, has to his school. He said that players at the University must live up to a tradition of excellence established by past players.

“I like how he talked about responsibility and what it means to be a football player at Notre Dame, and a student at Notre Dame,” Rodriguez said.

In his emotional speech, Huarte the pride and honor he has received from participating in Notre Dame athletics.

Freshman Chad Houston said he was particularly moved by Huarte’s speech.

“When [Huarte] was moved to tears, I was pretty close to tears myself,” Houston said.

A skit performed by residents of Pasquerilla East, a new addition to this year’s pep rallies, provided a change in format from last year’s rallies which included speeches by students and other members of the Notre Dame community. This change has received support amongst students.

“I think it provides a little variety as opposed to what it was last year with the student speakers,” sophomore Rachel Rodriguez said. “The skits add a little bit more variety and are a little more fun.”

Rak said the skits give students more time to enter the Joyce Center before missing any of the more motivational aspects of the pep rally, including big name speakers.

The next pep rally will be Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. in the JACC as the Irish prepare to take on Purdue.