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Proud to be Irish

Brian DeSplinter | Monday, September 19, 2005

Notre Dame students are used to seeing the incredible every day.

My first home game was no exception, and for the rest of my life I will never forget what I saw this Saturday.

I saw 100,000 devoted Irish fans pack this campus.

I saw the living legends of this school cheer alongside mere freshmen like myself.

I saw our team fight hard and fight well.

But what impressed me the most was what I saw after the game.

When the odds turned against the Irish in overtime and Michigan State charged our field, I saw a peculiar thing happen.

Instead of filing quietly off the field as their fans hurried out of the stadium, the Fightin’ Irish walked over to their student section to stand in union with their friends.

State had no time to gloat, because their opponents already had their gold helmets in the air and were receiving a thunderous volley of applause from the student section.

And though the Spartans had a large band and cheering section, the Irish were louder in defeat than State was in victory.

I saw all of this, and I have never been more proud to be Irish.

Not that I enjoyed losing. In fact, exactly the opposite; and this brings me to my point.

During those few minutes after the game we showed that spirit that distinguishes us from every other student body. No one in that stadium left unimpressed, especially the freshmen.

So come next Saturday, it will be that same spirit that inspires us to cheer even harder for the Irish who play hard for us.

I can only imagine how petrified Tyrone Willingham is of the Irish team he knows is ready for blood next week. Saturday was a tough beat, but it is only going to make us play harder and nastier each and every time out.

This is an incredible time to be a freshman at Notre Dame, even for students who are used to seeing the incredible every day.

I was told a thousand times before coming here that Notre Dame was a very different kind of place.

On Saturday night, the freshman graduating class of 2009 got our first taste of exactly what that means. Now we know what it means to be ND.

And when the Trojans come to town, we are going to make them know too.