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Interhall football: my new and unexplored frontier

Conor Kelly | Thursday, October 13, 2011

From the time I was five until my senior year in high school, I played the same three sports: soccer, hockey and baseball. I was reasonably good at them and never felt compelled to switch things around. While I might have looked curiously at a sport like lacrosse or wished that one time I might be the one in pads under the lights on Fridays, I loved the sports I did play and had no desire to change.

And then I came to Notre Dame.

A month ago, I became my interhall football team’s back-up (read: seldom-used) outside linebacker and running back. At 5′ 6″ and 170 lbs, I may not be Brian Kelly’s prototype for the Dog linebacker position, but I get to stand on the sidelines, give the real football players high-fives as they leave the field and occasionally get in the game and run around a little bit. Sometimes I even collide with the other team’s ball carrier in my confusion and make him fall down. It’s a lot of fun. My one sack and handful of carries in the year will be the athletic highlights of my fall, no matter what happened in interhall baseball.

While I’ve always been a big football fan and have played countless numbers of aggressive games of snow football, I had never encountered the sport in an organized fashion until this year. When we finally got our pads from RecSports, it took a whole lot of self-control not to start an impromptu hallway game.

Football is my new favorite sport, and I’m somebody who really likes sports. I obsessively watch videos on YouTube and have gained a newfound appreciation for what I see on TV on Saturdays and Sundays. It turns out that there is logic behind the shakily-drawn diagrams that commentators super-impose over video replays, and I’m slowly learning it.

Besides now being able to tell friends and family that I’m playing football at Notre Dame, the excitement of doing something new and actually being somewhat decent at it brings me back to when I was younger and sports were a new and unexplored frontier. I look forward to going to football practice each week not because I particularly enjoy standing around listening to people argue about blocking schemes, but because it is fun, exciting and new.

I don’t think I’ll ever be as good at football as I am at the sports I’ve been playing for the last 15 years of my life, but for these three months in the fall, being able to conquer a new challenge is incredibly fun. For me, even this change of pace is exciting. Imagine the possibilities of skydiving, acting, basket-weaving or spelunking.

Except I don’t think Notre Dame offers interhall cave exploration. And I am pretty sure the winners don’t get to play at Notre Dame Stadium.


Contact Conor Kelly at [email protected]

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.