November 2015 Archives

Remember those field trips you went on when you were in third grade? I remember going to the zoo, the science museum, and the symphony, to name a few. (Why someone thought that third graders would be able to sit through, much less appreciate, a two-hour long symphony... I have no idea.)

Imagine going on a third grade field trip to a Notre Dame football game. Sounds like just a dream, right? Not unless you're in Ms. Silva's third grade class. Then it's reality.

It all started three years ago, when Allison Silva's class at Taylor Leadership Academy in Stockton, California, had to decide what college they wanted to adopt for the year.

"At my school, each class adopts a different college," says Silva. "Because we're low-income, it's a low-income area, I'd say everybody that will go is going to be a first generation college student. So, it's sort of just a way for them to set that long-term goal of, this is going to be part of my life and they are aware of it."

Silva's brother graduated from Notre Dame and her father is, as Ms. Silva says, a big Notre Dame football fan. So, she might be a bit biased. But ultimately, it was the kids who voted to have Notre Dame as their school, in large part because of Notre Dame football.

"[Sports are] just sort of a natural gateway into catching their interest in college because that's something that they don't have and is not stressed in their household," says Silva. "So, Notre Dame is a natural fit. It was so funny, when I kind of presented them with a few choices it was like, 'Yeah, they're on my video game.' I'm like great, if you're going to be into it and be willing to learn about college. Whatever it takes."

Now, three years later and with a new group of third graders, Silva said this year's class has embraced Notre Dame more than any other year.

The walls of the California classroom are covered with Notre Dame and the students wear name tags with the signature leprechaun on them. Before each test, the class lines up and slaps a sign on the wall that says Play Like A Champion Today.

"It sort of gets them in the mindset of, 'I'm gonna tackle this and I'm excited for this test,'" says Silva.

To get the class' attention, Ms. Silva will yell, "Fighting!" to which the kids all respond in unison, "Irish!". When it's time to do research of their choice, it's almost always related to Notre Dame. One third grader found out she had the same birthday as Malik Zaire. After that discovery, Ms. Silva says she caught other kids sneaking on the computer to see if they shared a birthday with any of the players.

The students also write their own word problems that are centered around Notre Dame. Like this one:

Even outside of the classroom, the kids embrace Notre Dame. "Football isn't allowed at our school, so I have a Notre Dame basketball and they play basketball," says Silva. "But they say, 'We're the Notre Dame football team, playing basketball. I'm Jaylon Smith' or 'It's my turn to be Malik.'"

And, of course, the class watches Notre Dame play on Saturdays, usually at a local pizza parlor.

Last year, Ms. Silva decided to create a twitter account for her class. Not only is the account a way to share photos and videos of their love for Notre Dame but, it's also a way to connect the kids with the Notre Dame community.

"I wanted to bridge that gap," says Silva. "We know Notre Dame is a thing, we know that it's awesome, but how do I get these kids feeling like they're a part of it."

Social media was the answer. The twitter account has gotten the attention of some of the players, who will often retweet or "like" tweets from Ms. Silva's third grade class.

"It's bigger than just pressing retweet to the kids in my class," says Silva. "It's them feeling like they know [the players]. They think that Jerry Tillery wants to eat pizza with them from watching that Showtime episode."

The twitter account also caught the eye of Ted Mandell, a Film, Television, and Theatre professor at Notre Dame who is involved with producing a series of short documentaries called First Time Fans. Each documentary follows a person experiencing a Notre Dame football game for the first time.

Mandell first saw Ms. Silva's twitter account in the beginning of October, after someone tweeted at her saying that she should go to a Notre Dame game. When she responded that she had never been to one, Mandell, along with the film's director Chad Schaffler (ND '96), thought that Silva would be perfect for the First Time Fans series.

Camera crews wasted no time getting on a flight to Stockton to film Ms. Silva and her Notre Dame class.

"For me, it's all for the kids," says Silva. "So, when they said they were coming, I don't even think I could process thoughts at that point. That's been the most exciting part for me, that [the kids] felt so included in Notre Dame because these guys came out [to California]. It was like, they don't just know about us, they care about us."

A week later, Ms. Silva flew to South Bend for the Wake Forest game, getting the full Notre Dame experience.

On Friday afternoon, Ms. Silva facetimed her class to give them an update on the weekend. The kids were excited enough to see Ms. Silva at Notre Dame but when she revealed that she was being joined by Malik Zaire, the class went wild.

For the next 30 minutes, the students proceeded to ask Malik questions about football and sports in general. Mostly, though, the class asked Malik about school and what it was like to be a college student.

At one point, one of the kids asked, "Are you in the Golden Dome?" Unfortunately, we weren't. Before he said goodbye, the kids sang the fight song to Malik while he clapped along.

"Our local paper used a quote one of the kids said, 'We are Notre Dame,'" says Silva. "It's really how they feel now. It's seriously magical because they don't think of themselves as third graders. They think, we're just really small Notre Dame students and that's what they say. So the whole thing has been surreal."

Things only became more surreal for Ms. Silva on Saturday before the Wake Forest game, when she found out a generous donor had heard of her and her class and wanted to give them tickets to the Stanford game, just 80 miles from Stockton.

What was the class' reaction when Ms. Silva told them they would be going to a Notre Dame game? Watch below.

While adopting Notre Dame has given the students a group of players to idolize and a team to root for, the most important thing for Ms. Silva is what the Notre Dame football team has been able to teach this group of third graders.

"Even just through following Notre Dame, they've learned about all the colleges they've played," says Silva. "So, it's this awareness of, okay college exists, it's an option and I can do it and I can get there."

On Saturday, there will most likely be a good number of Notre Dame fans at the Stanford game. But no one will be louder than Ms. Silva's third grade class, ND Class of 2029.


The men's basketball team won their season opener Friday night against St. Francis (PA), 87-56.

But before the season got started, Steve Vasturia and Bonzie Colson surprised a South Bend family by hand-delivering their season tickets. 

After Bonzie and Steve handed off the tickets, they spent some time with the lucky family signing autographs, taking pictures, and playing the piano. 

Check out the cool moment in the video below. 

The Notre Dame Cross Country team will compete in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Friday at UW-Madison. 2014 National Champion Molly Seidel ('16) and 2x Foot Locker Champion Anna Rohrer ('19) are coming off a 1-2 finish at the ACC Championships two weeks ago, so hopes are high for the women's squad. 

Earlier this season, Flotrack, a popular track and field website, visited Notre Dame and caught up with some of the best competitors in the country. They also documented a pretty tough workout. Be warned, this video might make you feel self-conscious about your current workout plan, or lack thereof.

(If you're wondering how the camera people kept up with these girls... they were filming on bikes.)

Watch more videos on Flotrack

Tuesday night, the College Football Playoff Committee announced their latest rankings and Notre Dame came in at a "solid" #4. As expected, ND Nation was pretty pleased.

Also to be expected, there were some critics, including those who thought the Big 12 wasn't getting enough love.

And others who aren't convinced that Notre Dame's schedule is that strong.

But, at least Kirk Herbstreit has faith in Notre Dame.

Meanwhile, Mike Golic Jr. was concerned with more pressing issues.

And despite the non-believers, this tweet was the most accurate of the night.

At the end of the day, at least we're not College Football Playoff chairman Jeff Long. Though, he does seem to have a good sense of humor.

Even with all the noise, Notre Dame players are focused on what's important right now.

As Brian Kelly said in his press conference on Tuesday, "It's kind of like being on the treadmill... You keep your eyes in front of you and you just keep moving forward."


When in New York, do as the New Yorkers do and... take the Subway.

That's not always the motto for Notre Dame teams who play in the Big Apple but for the Notre Dame hockey team, it seemed like the best option on Sunday.

The Irish participated in the first ever college hockey event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, taking on UConn in a series of games on Saturday and Sunday.

The New York City Marathon, however, was also taking place on Sunday, leaving the hockey team to take an unconventional form of transportation to the arena: the Subway.

Turns out, traveling underground might be the way to go. The Irish won heavily on Sunday by a score of 8-2, following a 2-1 victory on Saturday.

After the weekend sweep, Notre Dame broke into the National Rankings for the first time in a year, landing the No. 18 spot.

For a few years now, I've been intrigued by the hockey culture surrounding the state of Minnesota. I've been to Minnesota two memorable times in my nearly 22 years; both were in the last year. The first time was in January of this year. It's a bad idea to drive North on I-35 in January during a blizzard, but I had the opportunity to go to a Minnesota Wild game against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks at the Xcel Energy Center, so I was pretty motivated to get to the Twin Cities on time. The first thing I noticed at Xcel was the plethora of "State of Hockey" banners hanging from the ceiling. And it really seems to be the only state where hockey isn't just a hobby; rather, it's an expectation.

I've met quite a few people from Minnesota here at Notre Dame, and most of them did play hockey at one point or another in their lives. I can't name a single person I know from back home (Kansas) who ever tried hockey. Last year, when I interviewed Steven Fogarty, he said he played hockey growing up in Minnesota "because everyone played hockey," and he wasn't hyperbolizing. It's an interesting culture, and I've always been amazed by it.

The Notre Dame roster features eight members from Minnesota, and five of those eight went to Edina High School. The state with the second most players on the roster is Illinois with only four. That alone shows that there's something unique about the land of 10,000 lakes. Unsurprisingly, the University of Minnesota has a few--okay, a lot--more students and athletes from its own state. 22 of the 28 players (nearly 79%) on the Minnesota Golden Gophers roster are from the state. If football is a religion in the South, hockey is definitely a religion in the North.


Pictured above, counter-clockwise: Jordan Gross, Maple Grove; Mario Lucia, Plymouth; Bo Brauer, Connor Hurley, Dylan Malmquist, Steven Fogarty, and Ben Ostlie, Edina; Tony Bretzman, Mendota Heights

And that's why I'm always so eager for the series against Minnesota. When the Golden Gophers come into town, there's an unspoken sense of heightened excitement that invades campus. There's also that little family rivalry that everyone knows about (in case you didn't know--but you probably did--our own senior Mario Lucia plays his father, Minnesota head coach Don Lucia, a 1981 Notre Dame graduate) that makes things more intense. More importantly, it's the fact that such a big portion of our own team have played with and against the members of the Minnesota team not only in college, but every year of pee-wee, junior and high school hockey leading up to these games.  For one weekend, friends and family become frenemies and the oft-known overly warm, ambitiously sweet Minnesotans become ice cold and viciously competitive. It's a series that never fails to entertain.

Recent Comments

  • notre dame gear: "Lime green 42... fashionably correct fuchsia 42... hut, hut.. HIKE!" read more
  • Zachary Barredo: Hi, what type of air playne it was there!? read more
  • celtic544: Who's next for the Irish? Slippery Rock? read more
  • WallsKatheryn21: One understands that life seems to be high priced, nevertheless we need money for different issues and not every person read more
  • Frank Lardy: Great Piece!! My wife and I were laughing out loud at this. read more
  • HensonCONSTANCE: That's cool that we can receive the loan and that opens up new possibilities. read more
  • GEOB: The only positive coming from this game is Coach Kelly's relization (I hope) that Hendricks is the present and future read more
  • tom matthews: Notre Dame's football team is fast becoming unwatchable. The current team has not improved since game one. Penalties and turnovers read more
  • game of thrones: People around me are all talking about game of thrones these days. I am so happy because I am a read more
  • brian hess: PATHETIC!! read more

Event Calendar

December 28
7:00 PM
Oregon State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND
December 29
5:00 PM
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

December 30
7:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND
January 1
1:00 PM
Ohio State
Glendale, Ariz.

Watch ESPN
Bowl Central
January 1
9:35 PM
Denver, Colo. (Magness Arena)

CBS Sports Network

St. Joseph Health System Medifast Delta Canon Visit South Bend Mishawaka