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Arion Shinaver talks setbacks, gratitude

| Friday, November 22, 2019

Arion Shinaver’s dad was the one to email Notre Dame his film from high school, but he didn’t know that at the time.

He would later be accepted into the University, then accepted as a preferred walk-on to the football team. 

Shinaver said he’s had a fondness for Notre Dame since he was a kid. His dad, an ’87 alumnus, would watch games with his friends. 

“I grew up watching the USC-Notre Dame games and the classic Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry when I was a kid,” Shinaver said. “I saw how excited my dad and his friends were, and I didn’t really understand it, but it was something that drew me to it.”

At first, Shinaver’s mom — as any mother would be — was hesitant about his dedication to football. But then, she came around to the idea. 

Allison Thornton | The Observer
Irish senior wide receiver Arion Shinaver lines up before the snap during Notre Dame’s 52-20 win over Navy on Nov. 16.

“[My mom] liked the whole idea of football to get me into a better school. I talked to Yale, Harvard and Brown a lot when I was a sophomore,” Shinaver said. “Then I blew out my knee, and lost recruiting interests, and then junior year I picked up again. I started talking to Notre Dame, and it kind of seemed like a long shot, but maybe I would get preferred walk-on. Then the Ivy League interest came back with Harvard, Yale and Brown with preferred walk-ons.”

That’s when Shinaver’s dad sent in his films. The rest is history. 

“[I told him] it’s not worth their time,” Shinaver said, looking back on his admissions process. 

Not everything was smooth sailing once he got to campus. 

Shinaver said he spent freshman and sophomore year on the offensive scout team hoping to “get a shot.” Although he played against USC his sophomore year, he was supposed to get more playing time in the fall of his junior year — at least, until he was injured. 

“I also had two concussions in that season, so I had a concussion in the second week of the season, and I was out for six weeks. Then I came back and I was a little nervous about it, and then I got another concussion. So the whole junior season, which was the most opportunity I was going to have, was kind of taken away from me,” Shinaver said. 

But since then Shinaver has listen to his doctors, who have assured him he should be good to play this season, leading to the wide receiver being “in the mix” more during games.

“I’ve been traveling for half the season now, bringing up like the wide receiver line and special teams and the end of the games here and there. So it’s been a good senior year,” Shinaver said. “Definitely, really busy, but  it’s been so great to just grow with the same guys the last four years and see my best friends become star players”

Shinaver, a finance major planning to go into consulting next year, said it has been tough balancing school with football, especially with the concussions from his junior year.

“My parents have always pushed school first,” he said. “ … When it comes down to it, you have your own destiny in your hands, and you can make the most of it. I’ve chosen here in college to put myself through a really difficult major, and with football it’s very difficult, and I think I’ll be better for that. So it’s just keeping a commitment to myself that this is this is going to pay off in the long run. That’s how I get through it.”

He cites Chris Finke and Chase Claypool as two of his best friends on the team, and says he loves Notre Dame’s competitive atmosphere. 

“I love how every single day is so competitive, and it’s like we’re competing with our best friends, especially here at Notre Dame,” Shinaver said. “So being able to know that a huge part of my day, every day, is going in competing at the highest level in one of the best programs in the nation is so exciting and fun, and it feels like I pushed myself every single day for the last four years.”

Shinaver said it’s important to keep in mind that anyone can make a difference in someone’s life.

“You don’t really know how big an impact you have on the people around you,” Shinaver said. “They make it really clear here that everything we do is under a microscope, but also we can do things that might seem small to us but can make someone’s day — or make it so you can make someone’s year. And that’s really been a neat opportunity.”

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About Mariah Rush

Mariah is a senior majoring in American Studies and minoring in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She is from the great city of South Bend, and was the Managing Editor of The Observer for the 2020-2021 school year. You can find her always on Twitter at @mariahfrush.

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