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Changes to the gameday experience

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, October 2, 2008

The recent crackdown on the game day experience at Notre Dame is discouraging to say the least. Over the years, the University has instituted certain policies that have changed the scope of the game day experience, and not always for the better.

I agree that excessive drinking tends to occur during tailgates before Notre Dame football games. And that sometimes those who partake in excessive drinking can disturb the experience of those wanting to enjoy the game. Now this is not always the fault of Notre Dame fans, but also of those visiting the school to cheer on their own team. Those that are truly a disturbance should be removed, but discretion needs to be paid when doing this.

As someone who is of the drinking age, I am allowed to enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two when I attend football games. I am also allowed to cheer on my team and urge them on to victory. Just because my voice is raised does not mean that I am intoxicated and deserve to be removed from the stadium, detained for questioning and forced to testing by a breathalyzer.

I understand that the school is trying to maintain the “family atmosphere” of a Notre Dame game, but is it not changing the experience when you remove all passion from the crowd at the threat of being forcibly removed.

The changes made have also moved to the student section. As a transfer student, I can look back at my first game in the stadium and it still is a vivid and fond memory. I did not know all the cheers or the routine of Officer McCarthy or that marshmallows were thrown by the seniors at halftime. I was slightly overwhelmed, but I tried to take it all in. The marshmallow tradition was left for the seniors only, and the entire student body respected that.

Unfortunately this was removed because of injuries of “assault with a deadly marshmallow”. If you look at this from a different angle, it was probably those donors in the gold seats that complained of getting hit by a few arrant marshmallows.

Now we have the tradition of push-ups after a Notre Dame score being removed. My dad’s first game at Notre Dame was in the student section with me. After the first touchdown, he was put up for push-ups, and to this day, is one of his fondest memories of the University. As a graduate, I have had the opportunity to attend games on the opposite side of the student section and witnessed push-ups erupting throughout the student section. It is a pillar of the game day experience for the students as well as the crowd.

My hope is that the University will think twice about what they believe to be the true game day experience that they want to put forth to those visiting the school. If the desire is to have a silent crowd who sits in their seats the entire game, and then leaves quietly regardless of the outcome, then I am afraid that more and more seats will go unfilled.

I am not suggesting we allow kegs in the stadium and overly obnoxious fans. I am simply asking for the University to allow students and fans to enjoy their time and cheer on the Irish as people have for over 100 years.

Chris Murphy


Class of 2005

Sept. 30