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Playing for Peace raises awareness

Melissa Flanagan | Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team furthered its social justice initiative with a Playing for Peace game followed by an interhall tournament Sunday.

Kevin Dugan, director of Men’s Lacrosse Operations, said they held the tournament to show Notre Dame’s unceasing support of Sudan. The initiative began fall semester with a three-on-three basketball tournament and Stand with Sudan peace rally.

“It’s a follow-up to make sure we didn’t just have this one event in the fall and check it off the list of things to do,” he said. “We want there to be a continuous call to awareness on the situation in Sudan.”

Dugan said they specifically selected the Georgetown game for the high level of publicity.

“We chose the Georgetown game because we knew it was going to be nationally televised and that we would be able to get the message out about Sudan to a national TV audience,” he said. “The announcers talked about Playing for Peace and Sudan for two minutes and that surely helped to raise awareness.”

At halftime, students at the game went onto the field and formed a human peace sign around the field’s interlocking ND logo. They then prayed for Sudan, turning the stadium from a venue for athletics to a venue for social concerns advocacy.

The team also recognized the organizations that have supported Playing for Peace at halftime, such as Catholic Relief Services and Adidas.

After the game ended, eight men’s and two women’s interhall teams competed in a seven-on-seven lacrosse tournament. The teams played 25 minute games refereed by men’s lacrosse players.

Duncan’s team defeated St. Edwards with a score of 7-5 in the men’s championship. In the women’s, Pangborn beat Ryan 6-4.

Sophomore Brian Benedict, who scored three goals for Duncan in the championship game, said the tournament and overall initiative was a major success for the lacrosse team.

“This was just an awesome day,” he said. “We got to cheer on our No. 2-ranked team, had a huge student prayer at halftime at midfield, got to play lacrosse ourselves, all while raising awareness for an important cause.”

St. Edward’s captain Quinn Kilpatrick said his team’s motivation to participate was two-fold.

“It’s obviously a great cause, and we also wanted to get some practice in before the big interhall season starts up,” he said.

For Pangborn captain Rachel Kalinoski, the best aspect of the tournament was the combination of playing a game she enjoys.

“I know our whole team really enjoyed the tournament and we hope to play again next year,” she said.

The Playing for Peace initiative has truly infused the lacrosse program with the ethos of Notre Dame, Dugan said.

“We have made new friends all over campus at the Kroc Institute, the Center for Social Concerns, the Ford Program, RecSports, Campus Ministry, student government, Play Like A Champion and the general student body,” he said.

Dugan said the game had a tremendously high student turnout.

“The student response was so encouraging. It was great to see the men’s basketball team come out to support the event and our team as well,” he said. “There was a real spirit of community at the game — everyone was there to support an important cause and to cheer on their team, it was a special Notre Dame moment.”