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Seniors bid farewell to football

Eileen Duffy | Friday, November 12, 2004

One hundred two marching band members will play their last notes and 13 cheerleaders will yell their last cheer in Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s really hard to believe that Saturday will be my last time marching out of the tunnel and onto the field,” Sarah Paulson, president and four-year member of the band, said. “The marching band has been a huge part of my experience here at Notre Dame, and I don’t think that I’ve realized yet that after Saturday it’s going to be ending.”

Assistant drum major Dan Ferretti recalled some memorable experiences made possible by being in the band.

“I have had the opportunity to perform in some of the greatest venues in college football – Doak-Campbell Stadium at Florida State, Neyland Stadium in Tennessee, Michigan Stadium and of course Notre Dame Stadium,” he said.

However, there was one aspect that trumped all the others – the students’ reactions.

“When we have a great show, a good dance, neat forms and I hear the crowd respond to that, it creates just an almost indescribable feeling,” Ferretti said. “It is the people at Notre Dame that make this place meaningful. When it is all said and done, that is what I will miss most after this Saturday.”

Dave Binz, cheerleading co-captain, expressed similar sentiments.

“It’s been four great years, going through the ups and downs of the football team. The best part was definitely doing step-off, leading the band around campus and through the tunnel,” Binz said. “I’ll never forget that feeling of walking through the tunnel, hearing those drumbeats get louder and louder.”

In the eyes of the younger teammates, the seniors will certainly leave a legacy and a void.

“They’re great leaders,” cheerleader Chrissy Williford, a junior, said of the seniors on her squad. “It’s a big job to pass down all the traditions, but they did it well.”

Williford also pointed out that the team is losing 13 of its 28 cheerleaders.

“That’s a major loss,” she said.

Members of both the band and the cheerleading squad mentioned the trip to Tennessee as a highlight of their careers.

“The trip to Tennessee was a great experience for the band,” Paulson said. “The band loves playing for the team and fans, and we’d love to do so at every away game. We like to think that we bring the intensity and enthusiasm of a Notre Dame home football weekend to any stadium we enter.”

“Going to Tennessee was unbelievable,” Binz said. “It was so loud, such an intimidating atmosphere. There’s nothing like going in and silencing a crowd of 107,000 people.”

Ultimately, Binz said he will embrace the change coming in his life.

“I think it’s time for us to move on, start our lives, and come back as the alumni,” he said.