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Special talents and friends named Reggie

Bobby Griffin | Friday, May 18, 2007

Looking through old boxes in my closet this week as I began organizing myself for my trip home, I stumbled upon a picture that I’d placed in my dorm during freshman orientation four years ago.

Huddled in a tight cluster were me and eight of my closest friends from high school enjoying ourselves on a late summer night before we’d all head our separate ways. The picture was a reminder of a time when I thought that I’d never be able to match those friendships.

Boy was I wrong.

Over four years at Notre Dame I’ve collected a number of great memories from my time as a student and editor at the campus newspaper. I’ve taken great classes, met intelligent professors and received an excellent education. At the newspaper I learned valuable lessons that I will carry with me as I begin my professional career. Listening to Charlie Weis and Mike Brey talk sports wasn’t bad either.

But the number of these memories don’t come close to the ones I’ve collected while spending time with my friends. Let’s start with some of the first weekends in Keough freshman year when we began realizing that Mac had a special talent. To this day, I laugh every time he runs down the stairs in our off-campus house.

Smiles aside, Mike probably still cringes when he remembers the time he wanted to give a friend some help at that off-campus party sophomore year. Hopefully that same generosity will be useful in helping with surgeries some day.

How about the junior year trip to Ann Arbor for the Michigan game when we got sidetracked along the highway? I might have won “Least Valuable Player” for that weekend, but I didn’t discourage Byrnes from introducing everyone to our new friend Reggie.

There’s also the senior year trip to Las Vegas when The Coach had to call it an early night – at 6 p.m. Donnelly, Dan and I made it home later that night after we made a few “standard” inquiries in the cab ride from Mandalay Bay.

Finally, I’m not sure it was a good idea to spend that much money in the airport with Dave before our spring break even began, but I’ll never forget the priceless look on that waitress’ face.

The stories don’t end there but the point is clear. Everyone says college is about growing as a person and maturing as an adult. And at least for me, I don’t think I’d be the person I am today without my buddies from Notre Dame. I feel lucky to have made so many close friends, and I credit the University for making all these great times possible.

Friends outside Notre Dame criticize the school, wondering why we have single-sex dorms and, more so, why we don’t complain about our living situations. Granted I did grow out of it, but making close friends is easy when you’re not always worried about chasing girls.

And those friendships forged over the course of college only grew thicker when we encountered our more difficult moments. Life isn’t always easy but with good relationships those incidents are easier to get through.

Over the next several years the times we see each other will go from daily to monthly as we settle into our jobs and lives. Football Saturdays will invariably become times to look back at how much fun we had while continuing to wonder when the hell Notre Dame will win its next National Championship.

But at a point where a lot of people are upset about college being over, I feel somewhat satisfied. I’ve had a great time at Notre Dame, and I will take these memories – and lessons – with me for the rest of my life.

Because like leaving my friends from home and beginning college, we are all about to embark on a new journey. But that doesn’t mean we can’t smile about how great the last four years really were. Thanks guys.

Bobby Griffin is a senior graduating with a degree in American Studies. He’ll be moving back to New York and although he doesn’t plan to be drafted, he’ll still be a free agent for any NBA team who wants to sign him. You can contact Bobby at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not

necessarily those of The Observer.