A Guide to Survival at a Football School

It’s not a fact I’m proud of. In fact, I’ve spent a good portion of this semester trying to hide the truth from my classmates. But I’ll let you all in on my little secret. Here it is: I don’t understand anything about football. I know, at a school like Notre Dame, this confession is like committing a major sin.

At Notre Dame, it seems as if you are supposed to eat, sleep, and breathe football. From those first shocked looks of my classmates when I asked questions like “Why can’t he do that?” or that time I cheered when in fact the penalty was on Notre Dame and not the opposing team, I learned that it was better to start compiling knowledge rather than embarrass myself through my ignorance. So I’ve come up with a quick guide to getting by at a football school without knowing anything about football.

1. Keep Your Eyes and Ears OpenFootball is a favorite topic of discussion around here, giving you tons of chances to pick up on the lingo. Whether it is a conversation in the dining hall or an angry rant on social media, don’t be afraid to pick an argument and make it your own. When I get the weekly text from my dad asking what I think about the week’s game, I usually just reiterate a bunch of the arguments my more knowledgeable friends made. Use this method and you’ll seem like the football fan you wish you were. Just avoid any in-depth discussion that might reveal your lack of understanding.

2. Find Someone Who Knows FootballIt’s all about your allies. We all know that person whose parents raised them on football. They understand all the plays and actually follow the sport in their free time. Make friends with this person, you’ll need someone to turn to during the game and whisper your questions.

3. Wait 3 Seconds After Every Play Before Getting Excited

There is nothing more embarrassing than wildly cheering after a play, only to find yourself the sole celebrator. After a few times facing the stone-cold fans around you and bashfully explaining that I was simply confused about the call, I learned that crowd mentality is my best friend. If you wait a mere three seconds before cheering, you can ensure that your reaction is in fact the appropriate response.

4. If People are Talking About Rankings, Know Where We Stand

If I know anything about playoff rankings, it’s that nobody really knows how they work. It is explained that “ESPN debuts two complementary metrics for evaluating college football teams this season. One of them, the Championship Drive Ratings, answers the question of who deserves to compete for the title. The other, the Football Power Index (FPI), answers the more traditional question of what teams are best.” This is probably why so many people freak out over rankings. As long as you know our rankings and get excited about moving up, you can disguise the fact that you really don’t care about the ranking and its apparent subtleties.

5. We are GOING to WIN Just because you know nothing about the sport, doesn’t mean you can’t get excited and passionate about your team. We all know that there is nothing better than a football Saturday on campus. We all lose our voices at every game. We silently fangirl everytime we see a big name player in the dining hall. So even if you don’t know what a first down is or when the teams should go for a two point conversion, express your love for your team. Wear the gear, scream the chants, and just know that WE ARE GOING TO WIN!

Have a Great Week! Go Irish, Beat Weak Forest!

 

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