Hear It From a Student - An Empty Feeling

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5709638.jpeg Fall break has been strange day for me in a lot of ways.

It is almost surreal to think that I have a whole week off from classes. I got to see my family for the first time in a few months. But despite knowing that the week would be one of relaxation and fun, I just can't shake this feeling of emptiness without Notre Dame football.

For a few incredible months in fall and winter, my Saturdays are completely defined by Notre Dame football. I structure my entire day around the game. If it's a home game, I have to plan how I'll tailgate before the game, who I'll sit with at the game and where my friends and I will go to discuss the game afterward.

On away game weekends, I have to figure out where I can watch the game and make sure that I have all the necessary provisions. Who I hang out with, what I eat, where I go ... it all comes back to football.

Even the quality of my weekend hangs on how the game goes. If it's a big win (think: the win over Air Force), I'm energized and fired up to have a great time. When we lose a heart breaker, I have to force myself to do anything fun. After the Michigan game, I felt like lying around and doing nothing. My entire state of mind is closely tied to how the Irish do on Saturdays.

That's why last week was so bizarre. Notre Dame was on its bye week and I didn''t know what to do. I tried watching other college football games. While watching Michigan State's defense lay some big hits on Denard Robinson was pretty fun, it's just not the same as watching the Fighting Irish.

There's something magical about walking into Notre Dame Stadium and seeing a vivid blend of green, blue and gold ready to cheer on the Irish. The sense of wonder experienced when watching my first game from the student section, the absolute misery I felt after the Irish collapse against Michigan last year, and the pure joy of storming the field after beating Utah last year are things I will never forget. A nail-biter of a game featuring two teams other than Notre Dame can come close to matching that level of emotion, but it can never quite match it.

I think that I'm going to have to make the most of this situation. Logically, I know that the team needs a break to both physically and mentally recover, and I want them to be well prepared for the rest of the season. More emotionally, I can't stop anticipating and imagining Saturday's USC game. It'll be the first USC game I've seen in person, and I can't wait to hear 80,000 fans cheering on the Irish at the top of their lungs.

I can't wait.

- Tom McGuire ('14)

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