Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bittersweet Send-off

Yesterday, Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate announced their plans to enter the 2010 NFL Draft. While many people had expected Clausen and Tate to forgo their senior seasons at ND, this was the announcement that fans were hoping would never come. We dreamed of seeing that familiar TD duo - #7 to #23 - for one more chance at Irish magic in 2010. Every Division 1 college football player may aspire to "play on Sundays," but only a small percentage have the tools necessary to make it to that next level. After speaking with their coaches and families, Jimmy and Golden decided they were ready for the challenge. It was time to make their own dreams come true.

For soon-to-be second semester juniors like myself, it comes as a disappointment that we won't have a chance to watch Jimmy and Golden (Keenan Hall's most famous Knight) shine on Saturday afternoons next season. During that nightmare season of '07, I remember thinking to myself, "This team is going to be dangerous when I'm a senior." The talent and potential were evident in glimpses during 2007, they began to emerge in 2008, and I thought with another couple of years playing together, this team could legitimately make a run at a national title in 2010. But things don't always work out as hoped.

The Irish struggled in 2009, losing several games that looked like easy wins when the schedule was first released. Despite these team struggles, Clausen and Tate managed to shine in nearly every game. Up until back-to-back losses to Navy and Pittsburgh, setting the Irish at 6-4, both were consistently being mentioned in the Heisman conversation. Whether in victory (15-18, 315 yards, 4 TD vs. Nevada) or defeat (23-30, 340 yards, 5 TD vs. Stanford), Clausen established himself as one of the premiere QBs in the nation. Like Clausen, Tate did everything in his power to help the Irish, racking up 93 catches for 1,496 yards and 15 TDs. Not to mention Tate was electrifying out of the "wildcat" formation and his catches, broken tackles and athleticism left fans speechless on several occasions. Even during games when it seemed like the Irish were down and out, Clausen and Tate kept things exciting, offering highlight reel after highlight reel for Sportscenter and the ND football archives.

As a member of the Class of 2011, I've now seen three of the most frustrating seasons in ND football history. Watching Jimmy and Golden has been one of the highlights of these disappointing seasons, and like so many others, I was hoping for another chance to watch #7 and #23 shine for the Irish. Ultimately however, deciding to enter the draft was the right decision for both of them. 2010 will feature a yet-to-be-determined head coach (Brian Kelly possibly?) and a new system. There is the risk of injury, a problem that plagued Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford after he decided to return to Norman for another year. There's no doubt that these factored into Clausen's decision to leave.

With Batman heading out the door, it only made sense for Robin to follow him to the NFL. Nothing against Dayne Crist, as I think he has the potential to emerge as a great player himself, but it would be difficult for Golden to improve his draft stock, by coming back to ND for a season with a young, inexperienced QB at the helm.

At the end of the 2007 season, if anyone told me that Clausen (the QB who was sacked 34 times) and Tate (the receiver who could only run fly patterns) would declare for the draft after their junior seasons, I would've called them crazy. Now here they are with the potential to make a profound impact on a team at the next level. Clausen could be a top 10 pick. Only time will tell where Tate ends up. As he said, "I’ve talked with a few people, and I think they predict me to go between the first and the seventh (final) round." Whatever the case may be, Clausen and Tate have made Irish fans proud, and given us something to cheer about during the last 3 seasons. May they have good luck and may God bless them as they strive to excel in the NFL.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The search for a new coach

Over the last few days, I've been hearing countless names around campus, on the web, and on ESPN as potential candidates to replace Charlie Weis. Stoops, Meyer, Gruden, Dungy, Kelly, Edsall, Davis, Johnson, Ferentz, etc. The list goes on. Since Monday, there have even been two conflicting reports that coaches have already come to terms with ND and that an announcement would be coming, possibly as early as this weekend (Stoops and Kelly). It surprises me that any journalist would publish this type of report, not knowing if the information they are reporting is actually true. I think one thing has been established in this coaching search - We won't know the next head football coach of the Fighting Irish until Jack Swarbrick and the University issue a statement and hold a press conference.

The prospect of ND hiring a new coach has created a buzz around campus. These rumors have been among the most talked about topics. It seems as though every time I'm in the dining hall, the conversation somehow gets back to football, and who might lead ND back to glory. People have their hopes set high. Though I've never been an avid reader of NDNation, I've found myself constantly checking the site within the last few weeks because something tells me that the fans who post there will know before any of the major sports networks or websites. But evem with their knowledge and dedication to ND, the last couple of days have proven that we really won't know until we hear it from Swarbrick. Still, it's fun to think about what might happen.

Though many of the coaches who have been mentioned as possible candidates have denied their interest and/or contact with Notre Dame, I'm still holding out hope that we can find a home run coach. I appreciate all that Coach Weis did for ND football. He worked his tail off and he loves and respects this University. I think he will be a major asset to an NFL team if/when he returns to the professional game. It's unfortunate that things did not work out for him at his alma mater, but it's time for ND to find a coach who can motivate and lead college players. Maybe ND can bring back The Rocket, even if it's just to give a pre-game pep talk. But really, I hope we can find a coach who continues to uphold the values of the University, while also having the experience, passion and motivation necessary to wake up the echoes and put ND football back on the map. In a ideal scenario, Meyer or Stoops would welcome this challenge. I would be shocked if either of them wavered from their previous denials, but hey, I can dream right?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Giving thanks

In the midst of papers and projects, exams and quizzes, it's easy to go through our daily lives without pausing for a moment to appreciate all that we're blessed with. We forget about what's important in life. At the end of the day, a high GPA and Dean's list honors are great, but what we will take away from ND is something much greater than anything that can be quantified on a résumé.

What Notre Dame helps teach us is the incredible strength of community and family. Although I come from a close-knit family, I've never experienced anything quite like the family that exists at ND. My life will be forever changed because as I define myself as a Domer, I will always share a bond with this University and with the tens of thousands of alumni around the world. Though I've always been an ND fan, it was not until I became a student that I began to recognize anything ND related. Now, whenever I am away from campus/South Bend and see someone wearing Fighting Irish gear, I feel a sense of pride in knowing that I attend this amazing university.

As the song goes, "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone," I believe my appreciation for Notre Dame grows when I leave campus. Getting "out of the bubble" helps you understand just how special of a place Notre Dame truly is. It struck me while I was walking around Midway Airport on my way home for Thanksgiving. The community, the Catholic character, the academics and the athletics that we might take for granted hit you much deeper when you realize that this incredible combination of qualities just might not exist anywhere else in the world.

Above all the rankings, accolades and prestige, what truly makes Notre Dame a special place are the people. The rectors, professors, classmates, and roommates help foster the tremendous sense of community that exists at Notre Dame. There is no doubt in my mind that dozens of other colleges and universities can provide many of the same academic challenges and resources that ND students are blessed with. But perhaps what they cannot provide is this sense of community that exists at ND. From dorm masses to section dinners to interhall athletics, the ND family is what I love most about attending this small, private, Catholic university in Northern Indiana.

Baseball Hall of Famer and New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio once said, "I'd like to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee." I am a Red Sox fan through and through, but on this Thanksgiving weekend I'd like to steal one from DiMaggio and I'd like to thank the good Lord for making me a Domer.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Rumors Swirling Around ND

As ND prepares for the final home game of the 2009 campaign, Saturday's matchup with UConn seems to be overshadowed by a potentially bigger issue affecting the football program. Since starting the season 6-2, the Irish dropped back-to-back games against Navy and Pittsburgh, leaving the team in danger of a fate similar to that of '08. Within the last week, much has been written, said and speculated about the future of Charlie Weis as head coach of the Fighting Irish. Many people seem to be looking past the final two regular season games, only to await the decision that will come from Jack Swarbrick and Father Jenkins.

As a long-time fan of Irish football and now as a student, I can see both sides of the debate. Coach Weis is an ND man. He saw a national championship during his time as a student. He knows what the Irish Faithful want to see from their football team and he's worked hard to return ND to football prominence. In players like Jimmy Clausen, Michael Floyd and Manti Te'o, he's attracted some of the top football talents in the nation to South Bend. He's dedicated to helping children who have developmental disabilities through his Hannah & Friends Foundation and he's a true Domer.

On the other side, I can see the argument for why this Saturday should his final home game as ND's coach. Unfortunately, none of Weis's positive traits have translated to the expectations that Irish fans and the national media have set for his recent football teams. It's been 21 years since ND last won a national championship, and although expecting a title contender each year is unrealistic, it would be nice to see the Irish return to BCS prominence. In his first two years as head coach, Weis took ND to back-to-back BCS appearances, but in each case the Irish lost. After struggling in '07 and '08, this was the year that the team was supposed to 'return to glory' and make an impact on the BCS or national championship picture. The funny thing about the '09 campaign is that if a couple plays had ended differently, we could be looking at a 10-0 team. On the other hand, we could also be looking at a 2-8 team. Instead, the Irish sit at 6-4. With wins over UConn and Stanford, the best case scenario for the Irish is a New Year's Day matchup (possibly with Miami) in the Gator Bowl. The worst case however, could be a return to the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.
Many big names have been tossed around in the last couple of weeks as potential replacements, if Weis is in fact let go at the end of this season. Urban Meyer, Bob Stoops, Brian Kelly and Jon Gruden have been at the forefront of this discussion. Other darkhorse candidates include Chris Petersen, Kirk Ferentz, and Gary Patterson. If someone other than Coach Weis is to lead the Irish in 2010, I would like to see the University swing for the fence on this one. Go out and get a coach that's proven he can win at a high level, proven he can recruit, and proven he can inspire and motivate college players.
  • Urban Meyer: Coach Meyer seems to have it made in Gainesville. The Florida weather, an abundance of top recruits and a team that is in position to contend for its third national title in four years. On the other hand, Meyer's quarterback and team leader, Tim Tebow, will be graduating after this season. If the Gators win another national championship, Meyer could be in search of a new challenge. He's Catholic, and familiar with ND, as he spent five seasons as an assitant here. Meyer has also been quoted as saying, "Notre Dame is my dream job."
  • Bob Stoops: Coach Stoops is Midwestern, Irish and Catholic, three elements that define Notre Dame. He won a national championship with Oklahoma in 2000 and has led the Sooners to six Big 12 Championships. Like Meyer, his star QB will be leaving after this season. His name has been mentioned recently, and like any other coach in the middle of a season, he has brushed the rumors aside, saying that "Notre Dame doesn't have a job." The way he responded to the question has left some wondering if Stoops could be a potential candidate, if there is a job opening in a couple of weeks.
  • John Gruden: Gruden's name has also been mentioned amidst the rumors, but it's difficult to tell if there is any truth to ND's potential interest in the former South Bend resident. Gruden grew up in South Bend and attended Clay High School, when his dad was an assistant at ND. The former NFL coach just signed an extension with Monday Night Football, but his ties to the South Bend area have some wondering if he could be in the mix to replace Weis.
This being said, if Saturday is Weis's final home game as head coach, he deserves a proper send-off. No booing, no taunting, but in this Thanksgiving season, thanks for his hard work. He knows that 6-4 is not where ND Nation expected to sit at this point in the season, but he's given it is best effort, and deserves respect for it.

Saturday will also be a send-off for 33 seniors, and it may very well be the last home game for Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate. So here's to hoping Clausen and Tate provide another glimpse of excellence, and that the Irish go out and win one against the Huskies. Win one for Charlie. Win one for the 33 seniors. Win one for the Class of '10, who will be seeing their last game as students in the stadium. GO IRISH! BEAT HUSKIES!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The semester so far...

Three weeks from today, millions of Americans will be crowding Best Buy, Toys 'R Us, Sears and hundreds of other stores on "Black Friday." Some in the hopes of scoring Christmas deals. Others, will be out people-watching and reveling in the fact that they do their shopping online. But the crowded mall offers many things that the convenience of Amazon.com cannot provide. Christmas tunes. Excited children running to see Santa. And more former classmates than I'll probably ever see at a high school reunion. A time for family, friends, food, fun, and faith, the holiday season is approaching, and I can't wait.

But before I can get into the holiday spirit, there's a lot of work to be done here at ND. With less than three weeks until Thanksgiving break, and after returning, only another two until finals start, the end of the semester is approaching quickly. It's crunch time.

Here's a quick look at a few of the things I've been working on for ND Today:
  • Last month, Notre Dame hosted the Excellence in Teaching conference, welcoming educators from across the country for a weekend of seminars and workshops. Teachers and administrators came away with tips on multiple intelligences and awakening the genius in every student. For me, this was a great weekend because I got to spend time with my dad, who flew in from NY to attend the conference.
  • Recently, ND welcomed Professor M. Brian Blake, to its faculty as an associate dean in the College of Engineering. Prior to coming to ND, Blake was an accomplished leader at Georgetown. At ND, Blake will develop faculty and graduate student recruitment and diversity strategies, and act as a liaison between the college and corporate and foundational partners. Professor Blake explained that he enjoyed his time at Georgetown, but here at ND, he has been especially appreciative of the community's welcoming support and incredible spirit. And the football weekends aren't half bad either.
  • In January, the ND Alumni Association will welcome alumni back to the University for the 2nd Annual Alumni Sports Weekend. The weekend will be highlighted by a pair of hockey games against Ferris State, as well as men's and women's basketball games against West Virginia and Villanova, respectively. For many fans, this may be the first opportunity to see the Irish in the recently renovated Purcell Pavilion. For more information on this upcoming weekend, be sure to check out the ND Alumni Association website over the next few weeks.
These are just a few of the many projects I've been working. I'm also writing a few stories for the Young Alumni eNewsletter, and several others for the December issue of ND Today. Classes have started heating up. Exams, projects and papers are looming on the horizon. It will be a busy and exciting few weeks until Thanksgiving, and in the end, the stress will be worth it. After all, we're about to enter into "the most wonderful time of the year." :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Look Inside Keenan Hall

Before arriving as a freshman at ND in '07, I knew very little about the University's dorm tradition. Over the summer, I logged onto the "Home Under the Dome" site through Residence Life & Housing to find out which of 14 male residence halls I would be calling home. This system reminded me of The Sorting Hat in Harry Potter. While Harry was destined to Gryffindor, I soon found that I would be spending much of my time in Keenan Hall.

Keenan Hall was constructed in 1957. Some would say it lacks the history of Alumni, Morrissey and Zahm, while others would argue it's missing the luxuries of Duncan, Keough, and O'Neill. What Keenan lacks in beauty and stories of yesteryear, it makes up for in its incredible dorm spirit.

One of the first things I noticed about Keenan was the unbelievable sense of brotherhood that existed among the Knights. The dorm slogan "Fratres in Christo" ("Brothers in Christ") becomes evident from the minute you arrive on campus and the Frosh-O staff helps assure you, an apprehensive 18-year old, and your worried parents, that Keenan Hall is a place you will be able to forever call home. As you begin to settle into your dorm room, upperclassmen pass by to introduce themselves and other freshmen stop by to discuss the most efficient ways of fitting everything into a 16' x 11' room. You quickly realize that this place is going to become your home for 8 months out of the year, and that when you and your family come back to ND 20 years from now, these are the guys you'll be meeting up with at a tailgate.

Keenan is one of the largest male residence halls on campus, with a capacity of 291 over 4 floors. One of the nicest things about the interior of Keenan is the basement. Here, there are several study locations, a workout room, a big-screen HDTV and a projection HDTV, and Zaland - Keenan's pizza shop.

For the most part, each of Keenan's four floors is configured the same way. Each is divided into two sections, West and North. For the last three years, I've lived in 3West (more information to come about 3W in a later post!). With the exception of a few singles, and senior doubles, most of the rooms are identical. After freshman year, you can set up quads and six-man room configurations. This year, I have a six-man. We build lofts, saving space on the ground and allowing us to efficiently use the three rooms alloted to us. Two of the rooms are for sleeping and studying, with three beds and desks in each, and the third is a common room shared among the six of us. When all is said and done after a few days of building and organizing at the beginning of the year, you've built yourself a place you can call home.

What really makes Keenan special however, is the tradition of events that we host each year.

  • Sine 1976, the Knights have hosted the Keenan Revue, a variety show and the dorm's signature event. Each year, the Revue is held in the O'Laughlin Auditorium on the campus of St. Mary's College. Over the years, the Revue has been the subject of much controversy, due to the often off-color humor. But at the end of the day, the Revue is all in good fun. It's not meant to offend anyone, only to poke fun at pop culture and the lives of Notre Dame students. Revue Week is without question one of the most exciting and enjoyable weeks of the year. The Revue is held for three nights each January, and the weekend culminates with a formal SYR in NDH.
  • Another event that Keenan is known for is Muddy Sunday. Since 2005, Muddy Sunday has been held just before the last week of classes during the spring semester. The mud volleyball tournament draws a huge turnout, and the money raised is donated to Habitat for Humanity.
  • Each fall, the Keenan Hall SYR is held at USA Skate in Mishawaka. The dance is known as Disco Roll, a night featuring eccentric clothing, some old-school tunes (as well as chart-toppers from today) and college kids attempting to rollerskate. The 70's theme gives us a taste of what it was like for our parents growing up.
  • The first weekend back after Thanksgiving, Keenan hosts the Reindeer Roast. For many people, the day after Thanksgiving marks the start of the Christmas season. Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby are added to the iPod, and Home Alone and Christmas Vacation take a spot right next to the DVD player. The Reindeer Roast is another great way to get into the spirit. Highlights of the Reindeer Roast include mass in the Keenan-Stanford Chapel presided by Father Poorman, a cookout, and the lighting of Keenan's Christmas display (The slogan reads "Twas the Knight Before Christmas").
  • Later this week, we will be hosting The Great Pumpkin. For this event, we work with local Boys & Girls Clubs to provide children in the South Bend area with a fun afternoon on ND's campus. We set up a haunted house in the Keenan basement and then take the children trick-or-treating around to many of the other dorms. It's great to see the excitement on the faces of the children as they get to hang around us "cool college kids." Not to mention, I think the haunted house brings us back to our youth.
Though Keenan doesn't have the air conditioning, wide hallways, or super-quads that some of the other dorms are lucky to enjoy, I wouldn't trade it for any other hall on ND's campus. When I graduate from ND in 2011, Keenan is certain to be one of the places I'll miss most, and one of the places I'll always come back to visit whenever I return to campus as an alum.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

USC Weekend

It's finally here. The weekend that Notre Dame students have had marked on their calendars since they saw the 2009 football schedule. Not only does this weekend include a visit from the USC Trojans, but it also marks the beginning of a much needed fall break. The last time we saw the Irish take the field was October 3rd versus Washington - a thrilling game that taught us two things about this year's team. 1) They are resilient and 2) They will never disappoint fans looking for an entertaining game. Many students called the game the most exciting game they've seen during their time at ND (The Class of 2009 had the fortune, or misfortune, of witnessing the infamous "Bush Push" as freshmen in '05).

The Washington game preceded a two-week stretch of midterms that were the most challenging academic days of the year so far. With ND's bye week falling during the middle of this stretch, SYRs (like Keenan Hall's Disco Roll) gave students something to break up the studying last weekend. Now, with most students' exams and papers wrapped up, the campus is buzzing for football again.

So here we are today, less than 48 hours from a matchup with the University of Southern California, or in the words of our beloved former football coach and favorite ESPN analyst, Mr. Lou Holtz, the University of Spoiled Children. Though Notre Dame is known for its compassion and generosity, there is no team that ND students despise more than USC. Maybe it's the Hollywood lifestyle many of their players are known to live, the off-the-field controversies surrounding athletes such as Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo, or even their recent dominance of the historic rivalry. One thing is for sure - There is no other team in the country that Notre Dame students would be happier to see the Irish beat than USC.

Yes. Michigan and BC are big rivals. But those games have not generated the same excitement, at least in my time as a student, that has been generated by the looming arrival of Pete Carroll's crew this Saturday. Between the chalk art outside of DeBartolo and the dining halls, the posters of USC's troubled former running back who also shares the name of a popular breakfast beverage, and the slew of "Go Irish! Beat SC!" Facebook groups, the student body is ready for the "Fall of Troy."

With a "green-out" being planned, a typical ND Football Saturday weather forecast on the horizon, and a QB being mentioned as a potential Heisman frontrunner, things are looking bright for the Irish. These factors have left many students wondering if maybe - just maybe, that this will be the year when Notre Dame returns to glory versus their bitter rival. Winning on Saturday would do wonders for the morale of the team and the Notre Dame family's football spirit - erasing recent years of misery caused by Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Mark Sanchez and company. Knocking off the Trojans would be the most significant victory in Weis' tenure at his alma mater, and it would put Jimmy Clausen right in the thick of the Heisman race. Only time will tell how the Irish will do against USC on October 17th. Win or lose, one thing is certain. The ND Nation is ready to cheer loud and proud behind the Irish come Saturday.

Go Irish! Beat SC!

Friday, October 9, 2009

My experience so far

It's been a little more than a month since I started working in the ND Alumni Association as the Hannah Storm Journalism Intern. So far, it's been a great experience. Everyone I've come in contact with has been very friendly and helpful. It seems that people are always willing to help a fellow Domer out.

On my second day working with the alumni association, Angela Sienko, the Senior Editor in Alumni Communications, and the person I work most closely with, gave me a stack of assignments for ND Today. At first, it was a little intimidating. With Scholastic, I usually work on one, maybe two stories at a time, but now I had the responsibility of covering five. After doing some research and contacting several of my sources, I soon realized that it was going to be easier than I had anticipated. Here are a few highlights from my first round of contributions to ND Today:

  • The first story I began working on was a profile of Professor Tracy Kijewski-Correa, associate chair in the College of Engineering. Professor Kijewski-Correa is a Triple Domer ('97 B.S., 2000 M.S., 2003 Ph.D.) and soon after earning her Ph.D. she was hired to begin teaching at the university. Like myself, she is a huge sports fan, and served as a guest coach for the Irish men's basketball team during their 2005 upset win over #4 BC.
  • On Halloween, the Irish will take on Washington State at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Another story I covered for this issue of ND Today discussed the alumni association's service project with the Healy-Murphy Center. By covering this trip, I also learned that those joining the team in San Antonio will be treated to many of the festivities of a South Bend gameday experience, including a pep rally, tailgate and pre-game concert. It is sure to be a fun weekend.
  • Since 2005, the College of Engineering's Peer Mentor progam has served freshmen transitioning to the college environment. One of the things I enjoyed about writing this article was seeing how the Peer Mentors almost serve as a "Frosh-O" staff, for the college. Last year, I was part of Keenan's staff and I thought it was a great way to get the freshmen involved and help develop camaraderie within the dorm. With all the long hours that engineers spend in the Learning Center, I understand why building community is a top priority.
Another great thing about working in the alumni association is the people I have met. Everyone working here shares a love for the university. Home Football Fridays are great. With campus and town both being very hectic, a different department orders lunch to be delivered each week and we all share a meal (Nothing against NDH, but it's a nice change!). It's been a lot of fun so far. I've met some great people and been fortunate to write some interesting articles to share with the ND community.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Big news from Father Jenkins

In an e-mail to the student body yesterday, Father Jenkins announced that beginning in May 2010, future Notre Dame Commencement ceremonies will be held in Notre Dame Stadium rather than the Joyce Center. Not only does this change mean that ND students will make their final memory as undergrads in the historic stadium, but it also means that students will no longer be forced to choose which family members can attend the ceremony.

While I think the JACC has been a great place to see Irish basketball, I was excited when I heard about the changes coming with the Purcell Pavilion. The JACC provided an outstanding home court advantage for ND, but it will be exciting to see how the changes improve the great basketball environment. One of the things I questioned however, was the impact that this change would have on graduation. The new configuration will seat approximately 2,000 less spectators, essentially meaning that each graduate would be allowed two tickets instead of three. While two or three tickets allow parents and one other lucky guest to attend, it often means choosing between family members, which simply seems unfair. One of my first memories of college was flying to Chapel Hill when I was five, to see my cousin graduate from UNC. His graduation was held in the football stadium and I've often wondered why ND couldn't do the same (even if the weather is nicer in NC than Indiana - It's May! It can't be that bad).

Apparently the Commencement Committee read my mind. To the joy of many ND students, yesterday's announcement solved this ticket problem. Unless Taylor Swift comes back to campus with an entourage of thousands, students will be free to have as many guests attend the ceremony as they would like (The country/pop star was on campus with her family yesterday because her brother was visiting as a prospective student. From what I've heard though, Taylor's far too humble to sport such an extensive crew, so we shouldn't have to worry, even if he does end up attending ND).

I'm excited by this change of venue. Not only does it mean my parents and brothers will be able to attend, but it also provides the opportunity for some of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends to possibly make the trip to South Bend. With my classmates, I'll be able to enjoy one last time together in the stadium where we've witnessed so many thrilling football games.

I'm looking forward to it. For now though, I want time to slow down. Thinking about graduation is a scary thought. I want to enjoy these next two years first.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Welcome to my blog!

Hello, I'm Josh, a junior at Notre Dame and this year's Hannah Storm Journalism Intern in the ND Alumni Association. Over the next several months, I hope to provide readers with a glimpse of what life is like for an ND student in 2009, and what my experiences have been like through my work with the alumni association. Being able to work with the alumni association as the Hannah Storm Journalism Intern has been a great experience. In this position, I typically write articles for ND Today and Onward to Victory, as well as other alumni publications. The ND Alumni Association is arguably the best in the country, and it's an honor to work with them. Please feel free to e-mail me or leave comments. I would love to hear stories of your life as a Domer!

Here are five things you should know about me:

5. I am a marketing and English major. When I tell people this, I often get the same reaction, "Hmm...that's an interesting combo." Well, they may be right, but I do have reasons behind these choices. After graduation, I would love to pursue a career in sports, whether it be sports journalism, marketing, management, etc. For as long as I can remember, sports have been a big part of my life. In high school, I made a lot of my best friends and most vivid memories on my athletic teams, and although my career is over (except for a few section football and interhall basketball games), I haven't lost my love for playing, watching and talking about sports. Hopefully, studying marketing and English will provide me with opportunities to pursue a sports-related career after leaving ND.

4. I'm from Upstate New York. When people ask me where I'm from, I always precede "New York" with "Upstate." It seems like the common assumption is that if you're from New York, you are from NYC. Sometimes, even by saying, "Upstate," I get questions like, "Oh, so how close to The City are you?" or "Are you near Buffalo?" It's alright though. Sometimes I think it's funny. I'm from the Albany area, specifically from Ballston Spa. I guess you could say our claim to fame is that Abner Doubleday, the credited inventor of baseball and Civil War general, was born in Ballston Spa. More people have probably heard of nearby Saratoga, famous as a summer tourist spot, especially during "track season," when thousands rush to the Saratoga Race Track. I love living in Upstate NY with my parents and two younger brothers.

3. I live in Keenan Hall. Dorm life at ND has been unlike anything I've ever experienced. For many of my friends at home, the whole dorm system is difficult to understand. At many of their schools, it's typically a year in the dorms, then moving into an apartment or joining a fraternity/sorority. What has been awesome about Notre Dame and Keenan, is that when you're welcomed onto campus for Frosh-O, you immediately become part of a community. From the time the Frosh-O staff helps you unload your car to the time they wake you up at 6 a.m. on the first Football Saturday, you really get a sense that you're part of something special. Now, I'm sure living in Duncan or Keough provides a more luxurious lifestyle, but I wouldn't trade it for The Great Pumpkin, Reindeer Roast, the Keenan Revue and the other great events our dorm hosts each year.

2. I work with NBC at Notre Dame's home football games. In addition to working in the alumni office, I also work in the TV truck at ND's home games this season. It has been an interesting and unique experience. The Irish have certainly kept the games entertaining, and it's great to see them winning here at home. I miss cheering in the student section, but the atmosphere of live TV is exciting because you are right in the thick of things with the broadcast. I operate a program called QBStat, which NBC uses in connection with other software to display graphics throughout the game. I see the game from many different angles and I get to see just how Tom Hammond, Pat Haden and Alex Flanagan shape the broadcast and the stories they bring to fans' living rooms along with the action of the game.

1. There's no place I'd rather be a student than Notre Dame.Though none of my family attended ND, from an early age, I was an ND fan. I guess that's part of being from an Irish Catholic family. It wasn't really until after my junior year of high school that I considered applying to Notre Dame. I visited ND during the summer before my senior year and loved it. When I got my acceptance letter, I knew this was the place I wanted to spend my next four years. Fast forward to today, and it's hard to believe that I'm in my junior year already. The time has flown by, and from talking to friends, I've heard that the last two move even quicker than the first two. As a student at ND, I've had opportunities that I never would have imagined. It's been an unbelievable experience. In the midst of the busy college schedule, it's easy to forget how lucky I am to attend ND. I've found that it's not until you are away from school, that you truly appreciate how blessed you are. Over the last couple of years, I've attended many events hosted by my local alumni club, the ND Club of Northeastern NY, and it's truly amazing to see how ND can bring people together. I always enjoy going to these events beacuse when you meet another Domer, it seems like you can talk for hours because of that love you both share for the university. I'm proud to be a student at Notre Dame and a member of the ND family.

Thanks for reading! What are some of your favorite memories of Notre Dame?