University of Notre Dame – The Athletic, The Souvenirs and The Spiritual

Yesterday we wrote and showed some of the pictures taken from our first impressions of the campus of the University of Notre Dame from a life long fan’s perspective.

We now continue this series on our week in South Bend / Mishawaka area.

Yesterday we spent all day at the campus doing three different types of activities. One article cannot even come close to all that we experienced, so I will try and summarize our experiences today and leave for later articles in future weeks for more lengthy discussion.

First we went to the Joyce center to try and obtain tickets for Friday’s ice hockey game against Boston College. We knew it was sold out. However, I thought that perhaps some of the tickets allotted to BC might have been returned. The person I spoke to over the phone at the ticket office last week said to drop by on Monday. So we did.

The nice person behind the ticket window said to try again on Wednesday, so we will.

Now, while we were there we literally stumbled into the Notre Dame Sports Heritage Hall. It is up on the second floor of the Joyce Center. To be honest I felt like an intruder, like I did not belong. However we (Harvey and myself) took several pictures and those few who walked by did not seem to mind. However, I still felt , well, uneasy.  There were so many different displays there each focusing on different aspects of Notre Dame athletics from teams in the various sports to the many different athletic achievements.

Here is the Heisman trophy (because I know that is what most of the football sports fans are interested in seeing) case displaying the actual trophies won by members of the Fighting Irish football team to represent just one of the many wonderful exhibits. However, believe me that this one exhibit is just the tip of the iceberg. This is truly a must see for any sports fan. Allow in my opinion at least two hours.

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The second activity Harvey and I did was to proceed over to the Hammes to get the souvenir shopping done. It took 45 minutes alone for me to find (with much help from Harvey) a baseball cap. I am one of those who has an oversized head (relative to my height) so I haven’t ever been able to find a ball cap which would fit. I’m only 5 foot 9 inches tall, yet I have the head of someone well over 6 feet in height. After much time trying on many different types, shapes and sizes we found one.

I’ll leave you with this one picture below which I know, I know, looks like a lot but to be honest did not cost as much as I thought I would spend in the store. Among my ‘hall’ is The Shirt, the Game Dayshirt for the week, some books and DVDs, the ball cap in the middle and so on.

For the fan of the football team, alum or subway alum, you might consider the item over in the lower right of the picture. It is a package (sorry for the glare) which Harvey noticed and purchased for me as we were about to leave the store after 2 hours (I could have spent all day in there). This package contains 63 or so reprints of newspaper articles throughout the team’s history. At only I think it was $12, it is the one souvenir which will take me several months to go through.

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I am sure one could find these articles over the Internet. However, just as there something comforting about reading the morning newspaper over a cup of coffee, or at the breakfast table, or in the evening after the day’s work and chores are done, there is something comforting about reading in newspaper format the actual articles written about these events.

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As well, as one who has always enjoyed history, I look forward to reading articles about the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team throughout time as seen through the eyes of those who covered the team and the sport at the time of the historical events.

The third and last activity for the day can be best described as our learning more about the campus. We took the free public tour from the Eck Center (pictured in yesterdays article) which took approximately 90 minutes. Definitely arrive early to attend the 15 minute video about the history of the University of  Notre Dame; it is well worth the few minutes no matter how well you think you already know the University, its beginnings, etc.

We were fortunate to have Patrick, a sophomore, as our guide. His knowledge of the history of the campus made the buildings come to life. And, for a Notre Dame football fan, his being part of the Notre Dame Irish Guard only added to his insights. (We’ll see him on Friday and Saturday!)

One of the aspects of the campus which struck Harvey and I is the great number of buildings and areas of the campus contained and arranged in a space smaller than our respective universities where we received our education. Notre Dame is really still that ‘small school up in Indiana’, with only around 10,000 students yet it offers and contains so much. For some reason, ‘the little engine that could’ keeps coming to mind.

For me what I will remember are the personal feelings when we visited and spend time at the various spiritual places on campus, most notably the Grotto (overwhelming)  and the Basilica. Lighting a candle and saying a prayer at the Grotto is a very personal and for me. Who doesn’t have someone, some event in one’s life that doesn’t cause one to be moved to prayer.

We’ll close today with a slide show below containing some of the pictures of the more spiritual side of the campus.

Tomorrow, we tour some of the various offerings in South Bend, away from the campus.

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