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Chris Stewart: Offensive guard enters with unique football perspective

Eric Prister | Friday, November 20, 2009

Senior offensive guard Chris Stewart has succeeded both on the field and off since he entered as a freshman in the spring of 2006.

Stewart came to Notre Dame with a unique football perspective. He played high school football in Texas, which he said can be more scrutinizing than playing football under the Dome.

“It’s a different culture coming from Texas to Indiana for football,” Stewart said. “It’s an upgrade, but I guess the society is different. Not that Notre Dame fans aren’t die-hard, but it’s almost like a cult following down south and in Texas. Little kids from the age of four are indoctrinated into the cult of football and school. It’s just a little bit different, and it’s hard to explain or pinpoint, it’s just the way things are done. Even tailgating, it’s just different.”

It was both athletics and academics that drew Stewart to Notre Dame from his hometown in Spring, Texas, despite the change in climate that a move to Indiana would entail.

“I expected it to be cold, and I was right on that,” Stewart said. “It was a mix of academics and football. I was able to have a national spotlight, every week get to be on TV and get a chance to showcase talent in front of everyone in the nation every week. It lived up to my expectations. There were some down times which were hard, but that happens, just like anything else in life.”

Stewart has seen both the high and low of Irish football, and both of these experiences helped shape his Notre Dame experience.

“One of the best memories, even though the game didn’t go so well, was going to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl, to go back down south,” Stewart said. “And actually a recent one was going to San Antonio. That was nice to get back down south. I’d say those two are the football memories that stick out.”

After seeing the majority of his sophomore playing time on special teams, Stewart has started all but three games since the beginning of his junior year — the three being games he missed due to injury. Despite his individual success, Stewart still has more he wants to accomplish, both on and off the field.

“Football-wise, I’d like to go undefeated and win a national championship,” Stewart said. “But I’ve gotten a lot of the experience out of it. Academically, I still want something out of grad school, I guess that’s something that’s left wanting. Other than that, I’ve had a pretty good experience with people and everything like that. With football, you can always wish things had gone better, but hindsight’s 20/20.”

Stewart took advantage of the academic opportunities offered by attending Notre Dame, majoring in history and international peace studies, and even creating his own history specialization — Caribbean Studies.

“I kind of made [the Caribbean Studies specialization] up,” Stewart said. “So I took a lot of political science classes and I had to bring in some American Studies classes, so it ended up being pretty cool. Taking Common Human Diseases gave me my first glance into Haiti and Caribbean society, so I wanted to learn the history and backdrop of all that, so that was the reason that I did it.”

The doors that were opened for him at Notre Dame have also been a large part of Stewart’s off-the-field experience, along with the ability to get to know people that he might not have otherwise gotten a chance to meet.

“I’ve enjoyed a lot of the people,” Stewart said. “Notre Dame has some really down-to-earth people, successful people but still-down-to earth. It’s not unusual to have friends from all over the U.S. and all over the world, being in the top earning bracket in the U.S. and still be down-to-earth, cool people. So, I’ve really enjoyed that part, getting to know people from different backgrounds. And I’ve enjoyed the educational side, getting to know professors and counselors and people like that. It’s been great. It’s been a really good experience.”