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Football game social distancing

| Tuesday, September 15, 2020

To the group of 12 that sat in the row directly in front of me at the game and to others who made a similar decision:

That was selfish.

You and I both know you don’t live together, and we know you shouldn’t be taking your masks off to talk to each other, but sure, I get it, this whole pandemic thing is different, and it can take some getting used to.

I mean, you can’t sit together at the games right now which sucks, touchdown pushups are seemingly impossible unless you do actual pushups and it feels wrong not to occupy the feet of empty space in front of your given seat in order to get closer to the action.

However, get used to it.

Most friend groups are larger than 10, which is more than we should be gathering with anyways. Real pushups are good for you, or just cheering to the fight song works; the band’s usually playing while we do the pushups anyway.

And you know that those six or more feet are there for a reason, so you shouldn’t be breaking that rule inside or outside of the stadium except with your household. And even then, setting an example within a group is always a good option.

We have been HERE for over a month now. This is not new. It may have been when you got here. I came from New York, so these regulations were nothing new to me. In states that felt they didn’t need this much precaution though, it wasn’t present, so you’re not used to it.

We’ve had a month, though. It’s time to be used to it.

Do you want to put the ushers and all the other event staff in danger? Is that the goal? The older men who have worked at this stadium since before we started going here and even those ushers who are new. The people who have spent their Saturday afternoons straightening us out, cleaning up after us and making sure we are safe and where we are supposed to be. How about the cameraman who tries, to the best of his ability, to make sure you get up on the big screen? Who holds the camera up while you lean towards him and cheer, who makes sure you’re heard?

Did you think of your peers? The women’s double behind you, one of whom has asthma and the other with potential underlying genetic conditions. The men’s quad that you’re right behind, two of whom don’t even know their medical history. The people you walk by on your way to get water who could have no known conditions and could just react badly to this specific disease. Did they ever cross your mind?

Or did you just not think of them? Were you so focused on your game day that you forgot to care about the game day that others wanted? You didn’t think about the thousands of other students that want to watch the game as safely as they can, without stressing the whole time that you will get them sick.

If you didn’t think of them, start to try to. I know it is an active thought process, and the normal game day routine is quite narrowly oriented, but try.

If you think you did and you just don’t care, start caring. And if that doesn’t work for you, look at it in the most selfish way possible. What if someone had done this to you? Had encroached on your space and made you feel unsafe? If we are not as safe in the stadium as we have been on campus, you lose your precious football season — our precious football season. You have to watch it in your room on TV, that is, if it continues. You can’t even wave to your friends across the stadium from your room.

I don’t write this from a position of perfection. I have needed my own reminders and internal checks, but we all have to be better and hold each other accountable.

So please, be considerate, stay safe and go Irish.

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

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About Mannion McGinley

Mannion McGinley is an American Studies and Sociology major with a Journalism minor in Notre Dame's class of 2023. She is a member of the Glynn Family Honors program and currently serves as an Assistant Managing Editor at The Observer.

Contact Mannion