Notre Dame students gather on South Quad to watch Louisville game
Tom Naatz | Tuesday, September 3, 2019
The Fighting Irish kicked off their 2019 season at Louisville on Monday evening. However, the fact that the game was happening away from South Bend did not stop members of the Notre Dame community from gathering together to watch the game en masse. As the game kicked off from Kentucky, a multitude of Notre Dame students descended on South Quad to watch on a large television screen situated in front of the Rockne Memorial.
For Vanessa Villalpando, a freshman, Notre Dame’s game against Louisville was her first football experience as a student. She said she came to the event so she could acquaint herself with the school’s football culture.
“I thought it would be a good way to get involved in the football season, even though it’s away,” Villalpando said. “I’ll get the feel of the student section.”
Students in attendance used the event to observe certain student section traditions. While it was difficult to see the screen as the game began, owing to the setting sun, that did not stop the assembled students from performing Irish pushups as they would do in the student section of the stadium at a home game.
Nicholas Clark, a freshman, said the community atmosphere is what drew him to the event.
“I decided to come because of the cool environment to experience the opener,” Clark said.
Several students heralded the unique opportunity to watch the game on the quad with the whole community. Haley Holden, a junior, attended the event with friends from her dorm.
”We’re thrilled to support our team with our classmates,” she said. “It’s a good dorm bonding experience.”
While the crowds gathered on South Quad, they were able to enjoy food provided by Morrissey Manor, which hosted the event. Students were creative with their seating choices, with some bringing blankets, lawn chairs and futons onto the quad.
“I like that everyone brought their futons,” junior Sophia Sheehy said. “It’s always nice to have free food.”
The novelty of the event was another draw for some attendees, as was the availability of free food.
“I feel like we didn’t experience this last year,” sophomore Olivia McKilligin said. “It offers a lot of Notre Dame community spirit you get on a game day. The free food helps.”
Senior Matt Kowalczyk echoed that sentiment, saying that, while the free food was intriguing, as a senior he had never gotten the chance to attend a communal game watch such as the Morrissey event, and he was excited to experience it for the first time.
“I heard ‘free food.’ That was definitely a plus,” Kowalczyk said. “The draw of friends, being out in nature, getting that home game experience, for an away game, bonding with the community. It’s a unique experience we haven’t had in the last few years.”
Among the crowd, there were also some expressions of guarded optimism about the football team’s prospects for the season.
“I hope they’re going to do well,” McKilligin said. “I’m a little scared of away at Michigan and Georgia. We’ll figure it out more tonight.”