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Adams: Gratitude for the return of sports

| Monday, September 14, 2020

Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday of last week, Notre Dame announced the fall schedules for women’s and men’s soccer teams and the cross country squad, respectively, with contests beginning this week.

The Atlantic Coast Conference previously announced on July 29 that men’s and women’s soccer would play six conference games and that the top four teams would make the postseason conference tournament. They would be allowed to schedule extra games against conference or non-conference opponents at their own discretion so long as they satisfied ACC testing protocols.

Both Irish squads have scheduled eight opponents, with the men taking on seven ACC foes and the women facing an exclusively in-conference slate. Every team on the men’s schedule made the College Cup last season.

The number of teams making the conference tournament has increased to eight total, four from each division of the conference. For the men, their home opener against Kentucky on Sept. 17 and their matchup with Pitt on Sept. 26 will not count towards their standings for conference tournament eligibility, but all eight games for the women will count.

Junya Kanemitsu | The Observer
Irish sophomore midfielder Michael Pellegrino scrambles for the ball during Notre Dame’s 4-2 loss to Clemson at Alumni Stadium on Sept. 13, 2019.

Cross country has their two regular season meets scheduled for Sept. 19 in the Irish Classic and Oct. 3 in the Louisville Classic. The ACC Championships are slated for Oct. 30. For now, spectators will not be allowed to attend any of these events on-person unless otherwise specified.

On a personal note, this comes as a great relief. After taking over as sports editor of The Observer, I was thrust into an unprecedented situation in which we had to come up with ways of producing content with a severe lack of sports to report on. Sports Authorities can write themselves to a degree since they don’t pertain to Notre Dame sports, but it’s honestly been difficult at times to create the diversity of content we usually have.

To give you an idea of how it usually works for us in the sports department, we fill out our weekly budget with stories. In the fall we’ll typically have a men’s or women’s soccer game, a cross country meet and a volleyball match or two per week.

Each of those stories gets its own preview and wrap, and with four to five events per week that gives us eight to 10 stories, and that’s not even counting breaking news, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross sport updates or all of the football content we have with Brian Kelly press conferences. Oh, and the Observer Roundtable does wonders for filling space on a weekly basis with football talk. It’s even more abundant in the fall and spring when we get tennis, golf, swimming & diving, basketball and hockey starting up.

This fall, we’ve had football talk, and that was pretty much it. Adding an extra Sports Authority and a daily column, leaning on the Roundtable and getting inventive with team chaplain previews has helped, but it still hasn’t been easy by any means for us. That said, it has still been an incredibly rewarding experience.

This has taught to appreciate the plethora of sports Notre Dame has to offer rather than to dread having to report on all of them. I want to give due credit and attention to the various sports Notre Dame offers — heck, I got my start at The Observer covering volleyball because they told me the team hadn’t really gotten fair coverage the previous year and I had some experience as a team manager for it in high school — but it can be tiring with so many to report on, especially when we get to the point that it isn’t totally necessary to cover them to fill space in print.

Having that much content is a blessing I will never take for granted again.

We are now beginning to get sports back. If we’re being real, football is an entity all its own. The powers that be were going to move mountains to make sure it happened for the revenue it would bring in. Make no mistake, football is the crème de la crème of the fall sports, but soccer, volleyball and cross country add a variety of flavor to the mix.

I wait with bated breath for the day when we can have Notre Dame’s host of varsity sports back in action and our budget can be overflowing with content, even those late night games for which we have to wait in our office until 11:00 p.m. for the game wrap to be submitted.

Give me all the late nights in the dingy basement of South Dining Hall if it means we get sports back.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Hayden Adams

Hayden is the former sports editor of The Observer. When he's not working toward his four majors (physics and film, television & theatre) and three minors (journalism, ethics & democracy), you can probably find him hopelessly trying to save his beloved Zahm House from being wiped out. He plans to attend law school at a TBD location after graduation.

Contact Hayden