Hunter Bivin earns place in Notre Dame O-line’s ‘brotherhood’
Meagan Bens | Friday, November 18, 2016
Tradition and brotherhood: the two words that define Notre Dame football according to senior offensive lineman Hunter Bivin.
Being a football player at an academically elite school has its challenges, but Bivin explained the unique opportunities and bonds created while being a part of the Notre Dame football program simply cannot be simulated anywhere else.
“I think the challenge, the strenuous academics as well as the tasks demanded on the field, is the cause of a lot of adversity in our player’s lives,” Bivin said. “Being a part of the program challenges you, and the opportunity to overcome these challenges is the glue for a bunch of the guys on the team. We form these close bonds and relationships that I don’t think there would be an opportunity for at any other place, it’s a unique challenge we all have to go through together.”
Bevin added the school’s high demands for its football players also create a unique experience that only current players and alumni understand.
“When describing the expectations of being a football player at Notre Dame, it’s not a generational element that makes our situation unique,” Bivin said. “The challenge and the adversity creating the opportunity to form brotherhood has always been there, and like the famous Lou Holtz quote, ‘It’s hard to explain unless you have experienced it.’”
And while the football program as a whole has a strong tradition, Bivin said he believes the offensive line in particular is the closest-knit unit on the team.
“When the alumni come back, the brotherhood is evident, especially as a player on the offensive line,” Bivin said. “We are such a cohesive unit, we are five guys that have to predict each other’s movements. We are probably the only group like that in a sport where five guys within a team are literally one unit. When Tim Grunhard and Andy Heck and all those guys that have been All-Americans in the past come to visit, they know what we are experiencing and they know the process. That tradition of forming those bonds is really unique to the Notre Dame football experience.”
Although the extensive hours dedicated to football on and off the field and the rigorous academics facilitate the camaraderie unique to Notre Dame, Bivin said being a student athlete constantly requires one to make sacrifices.
“It’s not easy, and I hate to say it, sometimes you have to sacrifice one thing for the other,” Bivin said. “As offensive linemen, we always go up and watch film after practice. Sometimes if you have a lot of work to do, you have to miss a film to go write a paper. Sometimes practice runs late and you don’t have a lot of time, or if you are tired you have to go to sleep and wake up really early to get your work done. A lot of sacrifices have to be made in order to balance the two. It’s not easy, but you learn how to do it.”
Despite the sacrifices that accompany his dedication to football, Bivin said the sport has given him unforgettable memories for a lifetime.
“In general, getting to experience all the different atmospheres, from Clemson to Florida State to Texas, all those big time college games you see on TV all the time, would have to be a part of my favorite memories,” Bivin said. “A really underrated memory is anytime after a hard workout or practice. Just sitting in the locker room with all the boys, talking and hanging out and knowing they went through the exact same thing you did. We all have a lot of the same emotions and the same thought processes about what we just went through, and those are the times you will always remember and you will never be able to simulate it in any other field in life.”
Along with creating memories while on national television or in the locker room, Bivin said he will never forget his first time running out of the tunnel and his first game action at Notre Dame.
“I was red-shirted my freshman year and didn’t play, but I can remember running out of the tunnel for the first time and playing Temple,” Bivin said. “It was that moment I worked so hard to get to in my life and it was awesome. As for my first game action, it was sophomore year against Michigan. We shut out Michigan, I wasn’t a starter or anything but I got to go out and get some mop up duty. But just being a fan and loving Notre Dame for so long and not liking Michigan for so long, that being your first game was unbelievable.”
Continuing to cherish the time spent on the field, Bivin said the current season has been difficult, but he added it challenges the team to grow and overcome adversity together, further enhancing the friendship among his teammates.
“It’s been a tough season,” Bivin said. “We work all year long and put in everything we have, and playing football you make so many sacrifices. You make sacrifices concerning academics, social life, family, and to put so much hard work into it and come out and not perform to your potential, it’s rough. It’s been a hard process, especially to lose games as we have by one score and no more, never more than eight points.
“But you have to find the positives in it, and I think during these tough times we continue to grow closer, emphasizing the brotherhood that defines Notre Dame.”
Enjoying his time at Notre Dame as a political science major, Bivin said he plans to come back for his fifth year of eligibility and complete the three-semester long Master of Science in Management program.
“So far it’s been a pleasurable experience as a political science major because of my interest in politics and how people think,” Bivin said. “I am thinking of coming back and completing a Masters in management, one that is for non-business majors and requires no previous experience. After that, I am going to be honest and say I don’t have any further plans. I haven’t had a lot of time to do internships and do as much networking as I like to plan what I want to do after graduation. But I will cross that bridge when I get there.”