An easy victory for the Irish against Navy reunites the team and fans

Yesterday was a great day to be a Notre Dame football fan. A 56-14 Irish win over the Midshipmen bolstered the morale of the team, students, and alumni. Although we enter each game hoping for a victory, this week we needed the win for reasons beyond just improving our record.

1. As a passionate college football fan, one of my favorite parts about Saturday mornings is flipping on College GameDay and getting the inside scoop on all the football news of the weekend. In keeping with this tradition of mine, I tuned in yesterday, and was surprised by the preview they did for the ND vs. Navy game. Much of the talk was about the controversy at Notre Dame this week between Coach Kelly and the players as well as negative remarks made by USC players directed at our team.

Following the stinging defeat at home against the Trojans, USC players commented on how they thought our team gave up and quit at the end of the game. This is clearly not how the Fighting Irish want to be perceived. Then, later in the week, Coach Kelly made comments about having to “retrain” the players he inherited from Charlie Weis. Some players, most notably Manti Te’o, did not appreciate his remarks and rumors swirled in the media about a drift between the coach and players. During a team meeting on Friday, Coach Kelly apologized to his players and made amends. This definitely showed on the field as the team put forth a great all-around effort. As Coach Kelly said in his post-game press conference, “Well, I can tell you that, you know, as a family, we all have good days and bad days. And you work through that as a family. And we had to work through some things this week. But at the end, like all families, if there's a disagreement, if there's any kind of need to communicate, it needs to get done and we did that. We communicated with each other as a team and as a family, and you saw it today. You saw a team that played together.”

2. Navy has uncharacteristically caused trouble for the Irish the past few years so we were overdue to regain control. We currently hold the NCAA-record 43-game win streak against Navy, but it ended in 2008 and we hadn’t beaten them since. Now we’re one game closer to trying to break our own record win-streak again.

3. We’re all aboard the Crazy Train now! Since coming back from the Michigan game, another business student and I have been conducting a student research project on the in-game atmosphere at ND stadium. With the support of the Athletic Department, we distributed a student survey, led a focus group, and brainstormed ideas for ways to enhance the tradition and in-game atmosphere at Notre Dame games. What has been one immediate, energizing improvement? Music! Last week against the Trojans, we tried it out and it was a great first run. Overall, students loved the volume and energy it added to the crowd and how it effectively engaged more than just the student section. However, we received constructive feedback from alumni and students saying that there needed to be more variety, and not quite as much Crazy Train. So, we gave it a second run against Navy and it went over really well. We’ve adopted “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys as one of our favorites, as it fits perfectly with our Irish background. We also have songs to play before each kickoff and the occasional third down. The addition of music has created a more electric environment in the stadium. Players jump up and down before kickoff as the volume pumps them up. Also, the band, which we all love, delivered a great performance too. The balance between the two made for an energetic student section. We all loved it! If you’re interested in learning more about the student research project, follow this link.

All in all, by the end of the game on Saturday, we were a reunited Notre Dame family, putting aside tensions to celebrate our victory! We are ND!

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