A Fellow Reflection

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Oh the Grotto… I can’t believe it’s been a year since I said my final goodbye at the candlelight ceremony.

In light of the events occurring on campus, fellow Dillonite Dan Tostado has written about tonight’s ceremony and how Fr. Jenkins was received by a majority of the student body.

And our hearts forever…
There’s a buzz in my room. This is true. Everyday, I hear through my closed window, the buzz of a plane flying overhead. This plane is flying low, and toting a huge banner of a graphic image of an aborted baby. I am aware, perhaps hyperactively, of the amount of social divide that this decision has been to invite Obama to speak at Notre Dame.

A re-cap for all those unaware (those who know can skip this paragraph.) On campus, there’s been the biggest amount of protesting and counter-protesting, discerning the subject of whether President Obama can or should come to speak at the ND commencement ceremony. On the corner of Notre Dame Ave, there’s the sign-holders protesting to the cars. There’s hundreds of passionate letters written to the ND newspaper. There’s alumni who denounce the school and have severed ties with Notre Dame because of this. There’s a crazy pro-life protester named Randall Terry who puts on a bloody Obama mask and chases children, who has given us such quotes as “This place will be a circus” and “Hate is good”. There’s been pressure on our University President, Father John Jenkins, to step down for inviting Obama to speak.

So, as I sang for the Senior week last visit to the Grotto, I got to see the reaction of the senior class towards our University President Jenkins. Every year the senior class gets to award some important figure with the “Fellows Award”, and this year they awarded it to Father Jenkins. When he got up to speak to the class, they applauded. The class of 2009 applauded Father Jenkins for a solid 60 seconds. That was one of the most significant things I’ve witnessed on campus. Here, crammed in the Basilica, are all the holy-rollers who attend Mass and are most likely to be anti-Jenkins and anti-Obama. Yet, they validate Jenkins in such a deeply meaningful way.

This night, though I am not a senior, was so powerful to witness. I can see why people love Notre Dame, why they bend over backwards as alumni to stick up for and support Notre Dame. Notre Dame is truly something greater than just a top 20 university, or any old Catholic university. What I saw tonight was integrity of the senior class to support both their Presidents, in a chaotic time of recession, unnecessary panic that gripped ND when (now) two students contracted swine flu, in a new era that ushers in a bright young President who happens to be black. The world is on fire right now, and the ND class of 2009 chose to stand up for what they believe.

The night ended in the grotto, with what’s probably become my favorite song, the Notre Dame alma mater.

And our hearts forever
Love thee Notre Dame

So now we know how the graduating seniors feel at least. Thanks for writing a wonderful reflection. And congrats and good luck this weekend!
smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

The Shirt 2009

The annual University of Notre Dame Blue/Gold game is today, marking the “beginning” of the countdown until kick off against Nevada next season. Alumni and fans alike all gather at ND this weekend to celebrate. This also means that “The Shirt” is released on the Friday before the game.

Now you would think that the release of simple shirt wouldn’t be a big deal. It’s just a charity fund raising object and the shirt which the entire student body (hopefully) wears on game day, right?

Oh no. Not at Notre Dame.

Like ANYTHING that goes on on campus, it is subject to harsh dramatic criticism. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people had a serious “Viewpoint” tying this year’s edition to the school’s invitation and bestowing of an honorary Law degree to President Barack Obama.

Though I must admit that The Shirt 2005 (pictured below) rightfully gives the student body, alumni, and fans a reason to be a bit on edge when it is officially unveiled. What an awful design and color. Yeesh.

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Brutal. No wonder everyone wanted to make their own version.

Well, here is The Shirt 2009, which is the 20th anniversary of the tradition. What do you think?

Product: TS09

I like it. I think it looks very sharp, and it is a creative color. It will definitely stick out on those blimp shots on NBC! I like the emblem on the side, incorporating 20th anniversary with 2009. Very nice touch. But mostly, I’m glad there aren’t lame quotes on it. “Rise and Strike” perpetuates a message of the “old school, mean, and nasty” football that the team has been lacking. And of course, “Defend Our Honor,” after the program has become a punchline across the nation, is quite appropriate for this season, perhaps one of the most important ones in recent memory.

But I’m sure someone will take it as a subliminal message against Obama speaking… I mean the shirt IS kind of fleshy looking, right?

Just Kidding of course. Enjoy the game, all who could make the trip! I’ll be buying one of these off of the internet!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

Irish Win CCHA Tournament Championship, To Face Bemidji State In First Round of NCAA Tournament – Rakes of Mallow

Josh_R apologizes for the lack of updates regarding the ND Hockey team. His jobs have consumed his life lately.

For much of the 2008-2009 NCAA hockey season, the main question asked by fans, the media, and even ND’s opponents was not “if” Notre Dame would take the CCHA regular season crown, but “when.” As the team’s excellent play continued, the points gap separating ND from the rest of the CCHA field increased. By the end of the season, one could only wonder that it wasn’t a question of if Notre Dame would also take the Mason Cup in Detroit as the CCHA Tournament Champion, but when.

After enjoying the bye weekend, Notre Dame faced CCHA #8 Nebraska Omaha at the JACC. UNO was coming off a fairly easy weekend against CCHA #9 Ferris State, as they swept the Bulldogs with a 3-0 win on Friday and a 5-1 win on Saturday to advance to the second round of the CCHA tournament.

Read the rest at Rakes of Mallow.

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

From The Desk Of… “Working Hard… On Making YouTube Videos”

And the Notre Dame Basketball team loses again, finally putting an end to a dismal season that was once spewing with utmost optimism. Well, let me correct myself. The NIT still remains, which could prove to be the ultimate display of (sub) mediocrity.

Anyway, in response to Mike Hatke’s request, I have made a special video commemorating the accomplishments of the season. Enjoy.

Can you believe it? The season summed up in about 8 seconds by a 4 second sound clip and a picture which had become a regular occurence this season.

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

At least we’ll have a Hansbrough next season.

Underdogs…

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I think I’ve just witnessed some EPIC upsets in sports history… at least in international baseball history. The Netherlands baseball team, yes, baseball, defeated the heavily favored Dominican Republic in the pool’s second elimination game. The DR’s two losses? Both against Holland. It had been pointed out that the MLB players on the DR make a combined 80+ M dollars.

The Netherlands? Their two players currently make 0 dollars- just to add to how bloated the DR’s roster was in comparison to the Dutch.

On the hardwood:

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Cleveland State is going dancing. They just upset #17 Butler for the Horizon League Championship, giving them the automatic bid for the NCAA tournament. This is why playoffs are wonderful and should be instituted for a certain college sport. But I digress. Anyway, I’m sure Butler will be in the mix somewhere on Selection Sunday!

On a similar note, Notre Dame managed to beat Rutgers to advance to the second round in the Big East Tournament. They’ll meet West Virginia tomorrow, which is in theory, a do-able game. But with the Irish team that materialized this year, you just aren’t going to know what will happen. Let’s hope for the best. We need a deep run to at least the championship game (and perhaps even winning it) in order to make the dance ourselves. Highly unlikely.

Let’s go hockey team!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

“Irish Cruise Through Weekend Series And Into Playoffs” – Rakes of Mallow

First story photo

Last Friday night proved to be a memorable night for the six Notre Dame seniors. The Joyce Center faithful along with the seniors’ families celebrated the storied careers of these young men. The CCHA Regular Season Championship Banner was unfurled. The team jubilantly posed with the CCHA regular season trophy as well. While both serve as reminders of the program’s rise to excellence, The Irish hope to add to their collection in the playoffs.

You also can’t forget the passing of longtime radio broadcaster Mike Lockert, the “voice of the Fighting Irish.” He was honored as well.

There also was a game on Friday night, if you could call it that. Notre Dame thoroughly manhandled Michigan State 5-0 on national TV thanks to a first period onslaught of four goals and stellar defensive play.

Read the rest at Rakes of Mallow.

“Irish Take on Michigan State in Regular Season Finale” – Rakes of Mallow

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It’s been a tale of two entirely different seasons for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Michigan State Spartans hockey teams. Both teams were predicted to be in the upper echelon of not only the CCHA, but also the national picture as well. Prior to tonight’s game, you’ll find Notre Dame sitting atop conference and national standings. MSU, on the other hand, has struggled the entire season, failing to live up to the high expectations prior to an NCAA tournament appearence last season.

Notre Dame returns home after last weekend’s hard fought battle in an intense, hostile atmosphere with UNO, squeeking out two victories. Tonight’s match up is the last home game of the regular season. Senior night will be an emotional event for our senior players and their families as their careers will soon come to a close.

Outgoing Seniors Include: RW Erik Condra, C Christian Hanson, D Luke Lucyk, G Jordan Pearce, LW Garrett Regan, and Justin White.

Read the rest at Rakes of Mallow.

“Just Enough: Irish Win CCHA Regular Season Crown With Pair of 1-Goal Wins Over UNO” – Rakes of Mallow

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The rafters at the newly announced hockey facility just might be full of banners even before the Irish play a game inside of it. At the very least, the 2008-2009 CCHA Regular Season Championship banner will hang, as Notre Dame swept the weekend series with UNO and second place Miami (OH) lost to and tied Northern Michigan in their weekend series. ND obviously hopes that it isn’t the only banner they earn this season.

The title didn’t come easy. It was a physical, hard-fought weekend sprinkled with some fortuitous bounces and questionable officiating. Even Coach Jackson acknowledged that the Irish were extremely fortunate to have won Friday night’s game, a thrilling 4-3 OT win.

The Omaha Civic Auditorium lived up to the hype. Close to 8,000 packed the building each night, affectionately named “The Barn,” to hopefully watch UNO upset the #2 ranked Irish. There was a sizeable Irish fan presence and the roar after each Irish goal rivaled that of the UNO fans. What they did have was cowbell. Lots and Lots of cowbell.

Read the rest at Rakes of Mallow.

“High Scoring Irish Ready to face UNO in Omaha” – Rakes of Mallow

This is an excerpt from my hockey entry at popular ND sports blog Rakes of Mallow. Follow the link to read the rest of it. Comment!

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Notre Dame hockey has had success regardless of the venue during the past three seasons, they best in the program’s history. The team hopes to continue its winning ways away from home this weekend as Jackson and Co. take on the University of Nebraska-Omaha Maverics in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Irish are coming off of an impressive weekend, as the offense exploded with 9 goals against Northern Michigan in the Friday night game at the JACC. A rare poor defensive effort was thankfully overshadowed by stellar special teams play. The power play unit was 6 of 8 with the man advantage while limiting NMU to 1 power play goal in 4 chances.

Read the rest at: Rakes of Mallow

2009 NCAA Football Preseason Polls? Already?

You can leave it to the unnaturally addicted college football addicts to already begin speculating about the 2009 season. Alas, only a mere 3 days after Florida was crowned the AP and BCS champion, the boys at Rivals.com already have a preliminary Top 25.

We all know how useful preseason polls are.

Nevertheless, it is great to see Notre Dame in the mix! (Scroll down to 23). Realistically, I feel that it is an appropriate ranking. This team has the potential to be good. Really good. And as the description (and many ND haters) will point out, the schedule is quite favorable. See Nevada, Washington, Washington St.

Could this be the year we finally beat USC? With the development of top recruiting classes finally beginning to materialize, not to mention the strong possibility of another top 5 recruiting class, I think we will at least have a shot. But again…. it always depends on what happens with the defense.

Well, here’s the list. Florida at number 1. Not a big surprise. I mean God Tim Tebow is coming back. And of course, Texas and USC are right up there in the mix after winning ther respective bowl games. LSU being ranked so high is a bit surprising, after having a disappointing season- though they whipped GT in their bowl game. And according to the list, the 2009 BCS buster? Boise State. We’ll see if they go undefeated similar to Utah this year, and clamor for their shot at the title game.

Rivals.com 2009 Preseason Top 25

1. Florida
The Buzz: The potential exists for all 11 defensive starters – and each of their backups – to be back in 2009. And with QB Tim Tebow returning, the Gators will be prohibitive favorites to repeat.
2. Texas
The Buzz: QB Colt McCoy‘s decision to return means the offense again will put up a ton of points – and the running game should be better in 2009. The secondary could be a strength, but the front seven needs some tweaking.
3. USC
The Buzz: The defense will undergo an overhaul, from the coordinator down to the players. But the offense could be truly explosive.
4. Oklahoma
The Buzz: If quarterback Sam Bradford, TE Jermaine Gresham and DT Gerald McCoy go pro, this ranking will drop. If all three return, OU will battle for the Big 12 – and maybe national – title.
5. LSU
The Buzz: QB Jordan Jefferson‘s performance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl provides hope that the offense will be more consistent. The linebacking corps needs to be rebuilt.
6. Ohio State
The Buzz: You have to figure the coaches will unleash quarterback Terrelle Pryor, which will jazz up the offense. The defense will be fine even without CB Malcolm Jenkins and LB James Laurinaitis.
7. Virginia Tech
The Buzz: The Hokies look as if they will be the class of the ACC. The defense always will be good, and if QB Tyrod Taylor becomes a better passer, the offense actually could be dangerous.
8. Alabama
The Buzz: The offensive line could have some questions and there will be a new quarterback, but depth should be better and there are some talented skill-position players on hand.
9. Boise State
The Buzz: QB Kellen Moore can become a star. If the Broncos can get their front four on defense settled, an undefeated season is within their grasp.
10. Oklahoma State
The Buzz: The Cowboys should have a deadly offensive trio in QB Zac Robinson, TB Kendall Hunter and WR Dez Bryant. The defense, though, has some work to do.
11. Georgia Tech
The Buzz: The Yellow Jackets were surprisingly good in coach Paul Johnson‘s first season, and Year Two in the triple-option offense could lead to big numbers. The defense should be fine.
12. California
The Buzz: Jahvid Best may go into the 2009 season as the nation’s best running back. Coach Jeff Tedford needs to settle on a quarterback and the linebacking corps must be rebuilt.
13. Penn State
The Buzz: QB Daryll Clark and TB Evan Royster return, though there are questions about the offensive line, the receiving corps and the secondary. The front seven on defense could be outstanding.
14. Ole Miss
The Buzz: Coach Houston Nutt changed the culture around the program, and if Tim Tebow goes pro, Jevan Snead will be the best quarterback in the SEC. There is a lot of skill-position talent around him, too.
15. Oregon
The Buzz: The Ducks will need to settle on a quarterback and do some tweaking in the secondary. But the rushing attack again should be the team strength.
16. Florida State
The Buzz: The defense has a lot of potential, if the coaches can find some safeties. The offensive line actually could be a strength. But the passing attack must improve.
17. Utah
The Buzz: The passing game will be a huge question. But the defense returns a lot of key players in the front seven, and the Utes will be able to run the ball.
18. Georgia
The Buzz: Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno are gone. But it’s not as if the Bulldogs’ roster is bereft of talent. The offensive line should be much better, as should the defense.
19. Kansas
The Buzz: On paper, at least, the Jayhawks look to be the class of the Big 12 North. The return of QB Todd Reesing means the offense should be one of the most productive in the nation. But the defense must replace three starting linebackers.
20. Texas Tech
The Buzz: No Graham Harrell. No Michael Crabtree. A rebuilt offensive line. A tougher schedule. And the same old defense.
21.Iowa
The Buzz: Yes, star running back Shonn Greene is gone, but the defense again should be tough. The offensive line should be stout and there still are some good backs on campus.
22. BYU
The Buzz: Replacing four starters on the offensive line is the top priority for the Cougars, whose defense should be much better.
23. Notre Dame
The Buzz: Hey, calm down there, all you Irish haters. Notre Dame has talent, the schedule is navigable and a staff shakeup should help on the field.
24. USF
The Buzz: One of these seasons, USF will start fast and finish strong. Next season will be the final go-round for quarterback Matt Grothe, who must cut down on his mistakes.
25. Oregon State
The Buzz: The Rodgers brothers mean the offense should be fine, and coordinator Mark Banker always seems to find answers on his defense.