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    A New Home

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    While our student-athletes have been working hard in preparation for the start of the fall season, we've also made a few improvements in anticipation of the new school year.

    From this point forward, Irish UNDerground will be utilizing the Wordpress platform powered by NBC Sports.

    Here's a look at our three new blog websites:

    UNDerground: Notre Dame Athletics

    Strong and True: Notre Dame Football

    Irish United: Notre Dame Men's and Women's Soccer

    Go ahead and bookmark these now. With features, videos, photos, commentaries and news from inside the athletic department, we are committed to bringing you coverage of Notre Dame athletics unlike any you can find elsewhere.

    Get ready. 2012-13 is going to be an exciting year to be Irish.

    Lax In The City - 7.09.12

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    Emily (center) hangs out on the 4th of July at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, N.Y.

    Notre Dame rising senior women's lacrosse player Emily Conner has a dream internship for a sports fan this summer, as she is interning with ESPN in New York City in its Marketing & Sales department. Within the department, the Alexandria, Va., native works on the asset management team in the consumer marketing solutions department. The 10-week internship will offer Conner a chance to explore the fourth biggest city in the world, while working for The Worldwide Leader In Sports. Conner graciously volunteered to keep a weekly blog for Irish UNDerground, which will offer a small glimpse into her busy life this summer. Here is the fourth entry in the summer series: Lax In The City.

    "I might as well push myself. It's only 10 minutes worth of work. I might as well push as hard as I can."

    These are the inspiring words of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest's six-time champion and world record holder Joey Chestnut - a man, known as "Jaws", who happened to spit backwash all over me in the midst of tying his world record. Yes, that is right, I got to count every last hot dog he so gracefully shoved in his mouth. I was standing in front of Chestnut as he put down hot dogs number 67 and 68 as the clock struck zero, and I have never been more afraid of being thrown up on in my life.

    So how did I end up judging this famous competition? I really do not know. All I know is that I was asked to do ESPN fan photos for the event. The job description included handing out foam ESPN fingers and taking pictures with fans. Overall, it was a pretty easy task, and a lot of fun! I actually had multiple people ask me if I was the talent (i.e. a competitive eater) and/or tell me they were big fans. For the record, I am not a competitive eater and I do not know how to respond when people ask me if I am. After taking tons of pictures and meeting many interesting people, I went back to the "Entertainment tent." Next thing I know, I'm being handed an official Nathan's shirt and being versed in the scoring of the competition. They told me that one of the judges I'd be scoring with was MarShon Brooks of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets (formerly New Jersey Nets). All I could think was, "Is this real life??" And an hour later, as Joey Chestnut's rain of backwash hit my face, the answer was clear- yes this is real life...and gross!

    Despite my very temporary aversion to hot dogs, it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I mean only so many people get to say that they got to be the judge as someone broke a world record (I also counted for Sonya Thomas, who broke the women's record with 45 hot dogs!). It was never something I had on my bucket list, but as my roommate - who also worked the event -said, "now I'm pretty pumped to say I have that checked off!"

    While I have no intention of getting involved in the competitive eating world, I do think there are some lessons I can take from our champions and my experience. As Joey Chestnut demonstrated, as hard as it is to do what he does, it is only 10 minutes. He might as well push as hard as he can.

    I feel similarly about my internship. It is only 10 weeks. I might as well take advantage of every minute I have here. This week I have started to embrace more opportunities because I've started to realize just how quickly it all goes by. I even scheduled a meeting with one of the Executive Vice Presidents of ESPN to learn more about the business. I cannot even begin to detail how informative and interesting sitting down with him was. The 4th of July was supposed to be a day off, but I jumped at the opportunity to work the event. I did not do it because I thought I'd make it on ESPN, but because I wanted the full internship experience - whatever that may entail. I do not want to end my summer and realize that those 10 weeks went by so fast, and I did not take advantage of them.

    Life is short and there is no reason to waste it. Everything has an ending point. My internship will end. Lacrosse will end. One day my career will end. And I know that I will look back on each phase and think they flew by. So whatever endeavors I pursue I need to look at it with the mindset of a champion - the mindset of Joey Chestnut. "I might as well push myself. It's only (insert amount of time here) worth of work. I might as well push as hard as I can."

    The Irish Remember Title IX

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    This past Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of Title IX, an educational amendment that changed the world. In part, Title IX states:

    No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance...

    Last week, several Notre Dame student-athletes reflected on the momentous act in a feature for ESPN.

    Lax In The City - 6.28.12

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    Emily (Notre Dame Lacrosse Shirt) and her siblings (from L-R): Ben, Andrew, Katie and Elise.

    Notre Dame rising senior women's lacrosse player Emily Conner has a dream internship for a sports fan this summer, as she is interning with ESPN in New York City in its Marketing & Sales department. Within the department, the Alexandria, Va., native works on the asset management team in the consumer marketing solutions department. The 10-week internship will offer Conner a chance to explore the fourth biggest city in the world, while working for The Worldwide Leader In Sports. Conner graciously volunteered to keep a weekly blog for Irish UNDerground, which will offer a small glimpse into her busy life this summer. Here is the third entry in the summer series: Lax In The City.

    "Her fever has gone down to 103 degrees, she can go to school." WHATTT?!?! As I heard those words come out of my father's mouth, I felt a strong desire to just melt right into my twin bed. There was no escaping it. No matter what, I was going to end up on that hour and a half ride down to Richmond, VA to play in my Field Hockey State semifinal game. The whole week I had been suffering from a 105° fever and had barely stepped foot out of bed. There was no point in protesting though. I knew it was my duty to my team to be there; even though it meant following the bus in my parent's car in order to avoid infecting the rest of the team. While both my parent's later admitted that I should not have gone to the game, I secretly knew whether they had forced me out of bed that morning or not, I would have been at that game. That is how I was raised; you do not quit, you commit - no matter how hard it may be at times.

    From a young age, sports have consumed my life. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad coaching my five and under soccer team - the fact that he had the patience to do that makes me think he's a saint! Especially considering I always got in a fight with one boy who thought he was better than me - he wasn't.

    As I got older, I started taking sports and especially lacrosse more seriously. This was mostly due to the influence of my brother Andrew, who was a lacrosse player himself. He was and still is my best friend, and I wanted to be just like him when we were growing up. My first lacrosse stick was his old stick that he tied so tight that it could be a girl's stick. I learned to catch, because he refused to teach me. Instead, it was a matter of survival. He threw it; I caught it or got out of the way quickly - he had an abnormally hard shot for a 12 year old. I even wore the #23 jersey because he did - and Michael Jordan.

    Not only did he teach me lacrosse fundamentals, but he has also demonstrated for me how important it is to be committed to your team. I watched him suffer through countless injuries through high school and college only to play through the pain - very successfully I might add. At the time, I did not know I would have to deal with many of the same injuries as I continued my athletic career, but looking back and knowing that he played through it has encouraged me to do the same. Even when my doctor at home told me I needed to reconsider playing college lacrosse after my freshman season at Notre Dame - due to worsening back problems - I knew that was not an option. I had made a commitment to my team and I was unwilling to back out of it. This strong sense of commitment I learned from both my brother and my parents (who are going on 30 years of marriage...talk about commitment!). Famous Notre Dame football head coach, Lou Holtz once said:

    "If you don't make a total commitment to whatever you're doing, then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking," said Holtz. "It's tough enough getting that boat to shore with everybody rowing, let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his life jacket on."

    I think after years of watching my brother keep going no matter how physically and mentally worn down he got, has been inspiration enough for me to do the same.

    Now I know college lacrosse ends for me in one short year. But I also know that the sense of teamwork and commitment that I have learned from both my family and competitive sports will help me in whatever I do. In most careers, teamwork becomes a daily commitment. At ESPN, it is no different. Each department is structured into several small teams that specialize in various aspects of the business. The 'Asset Management' team I'm working with is a group of four people, all different ages, all different skill sets. While the group is incredibly diverse, what makes the teamwork so well is that everyone is committed to each other and the "team" goal - To Serve Sports Fans. Anywhere. Anytime.

    Lax In The City - 6.15.12

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    Notre Dame rising senior women's lacrosse player Emily Conner has a dream internship for a sports fan this summer, as she is interning with ESPN in New York City in its Marketing & Sales department. Within the department, the Alexandria, Va., native works on the asset management team in the consumer marketing solutions department. The 10-week internship will offer Conner a chance to explore the fourth biggest city in the world, while working for The Worldwide Leader In Sports. Conner graciously volunteered to keep a weekly blog for Irish UNDerground, which will offer a small glimpse into her busy life this summer. Here is the second entry in the summer series:Lax In The City.

    As I sat there with at least a hundred lunch orders, a telephone number and a corporate credit card on my desk, all I could think was "don't screw this up!" If there is one thing I've learned working at ESPN the past two weeks, it's that the employees care about sports almost as much as they care about food. So as employees continue to file into my office giving me their orders and wishing me good luck, I start to feel a sense of responsibility. This is what interns are supposed to be good at - now is my time to shine. As I picked up the phone, I put on my most confident voice as I said, "Hi, I need to place a LARGE order..." Forty minutes later I put down the receiver and breathed a sigh of relief.

    Now some of you may not understand why I consider this a pressure-packed situation. While it was by far the least important task I've had since being here, I still find it more difficult than "crunching numbers" - according to the Intern Orientation, this is what I do. If you know me, my job description should come as quite a surprise! Compiling advertisement prices and emerging property proposals for the upcoming quarter is easier for me because there is what people politely call a "learning curve" (i.e. low expectations). This is the same reason why my freshman lacrosse season at Notre Dame was probably the easiest for me. I was not better as a freshman than I am now; I just wasn't expected to know everything.

    I'm the type of person who relishes being the underdog. I love going up against teams like Northwestern (winners of seven of the last eight national titles) because they allow me to play with a 'nothing to lose and everything to gain' mentality. That same mentality gets me excited when I'm given projects for my internship that I know are going to challenge me. Of course, failure is always a possibility, but reality doesn't stop me from savoring the opportunity. As ridiculous as it may sound, I love climbing mountains, but I'm terrified of molehills.

    Over the years, I've learned that low expectations can be incredibly empowering, as long as you never doubt yourself. In my opinion, low expectations are the reason the Oklahoma City Thunder has made it all the way to the NBA Finals. They were given nothing to lose which made their success that much more surprising and motivating. It also does not hurt that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been filthy all year. When it comes down to it, those athletes knew they could do it. The world was just skeptical. Every day, people like me watch SportsCenter to hear stories of athletes who overcame a world of doubt to make it on to that coveted platform. We work our hardest in practice in order to be one of those people who defy the odds and end the season with a bigger number on the left side of the column than the right.

    Moving to New York City to intern at ESPN has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and given me opportunities that I never thought I would have. As you can imagine, I love each and every day because I get to prove to my coworkers and myself that I have what it takes to make it in this business. Still, it is times like placing food orders that I realize just how much I still have to overcome about myself in order to truly be successful. I have to stop being afraid of the things I'm good at. While low expectations can be empowering, sometimes you have to learn to thrive on high expectations as well. If you cannot do that then you will never fully reach your potential. You don't want to be LeBron James at the end of the 2011 NBA Finals, knowing as the best player in the NBA, you let a mental block get between you and your ultimate goal. (Not going to lie, I hope he does it again.)

    Lax In The City - 6.8.12

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    Notre Dame rising senior women's lacrosse player Emily Conner has a dream internship for a sports fan this summer, as she is interning with ESPN in New York City in its Marketing & Sales department. Within the department, the Alexandria, Va., native works on the asset management team in the consumer marketing solutions department. The 10-week internship will offer Conner a chance to explore the fourth biggest city in the world, while working for The Worldwide Leader In Sports.

    Conner graciously volunteered to keep a weekly blog for Irish UNDerground, which will offer a small glimpse into her busy life this summer. Here is the opening entry in the summer series: Lax In The City.

    Week #1

    As a wise man once said "live every moment for the moment." While most people would choose a quote from great minds like Albert Einstein or Mother Theresa to start their first blog, that just would not be an accurate representation of whom I am. Instead, I start us off with a quote from Michael Jordan. I have always liked Michael Jordan. Perhaps it's for his ability to make not only himself look good but his teammates as well. Or maybe it's because he could fly ... at least for a little while. Most likely it's for his incredible acting in the movie "Space Jam" - seriously. No matter if you like or dislike Michael Jordan, his quote can resonate with you on some level or another.

    In my case, "live every moment for the moment stood out to me when I moved to New York City last Saturday. When I say, "stood out", I mean literally, as it was written on someone's shirt in the subway. It actually made me think about a lot of things.  Here I was, 21 years old, moving to a new (HUGE!) city, about to start my dream internship at ESPN, and I was scared to death. I do not know what made me so nervous, but I think it was the fear of failure that I and many other elite athletes suffer from. Our whole lives we have been considered good at what we do, namely sports, but in this case I was going into a situation where I didn't know if I would be good at what was expected of me. In fact, when my bosses said that my work would involve finance, flashbacks of my first finance exam at Notre Dame - my worst grade ever - kept running through my mind, and I felt my confidence shrink very quickly.

    My first day, I definitely carried some of that fear over with me, but walking in with my roommate, a fellow ESPN intern and college athlete, made me relax a little bit. At least I knew I had someone I could grab lunch with - it's sad how quickly those middle school fears can rush back to you! Still, when you walk into the office, it's hard not to become overwhelmed. I mean this is ESPN...how cool is that?

    (Side Note: The only bad part about my office is the large New England Patriots' poster. Not okay for an Indianapolis Colts fan.)

    As great as everything else was, I have to admit that the first time my phone rang I think my heart started beating out of my chest as I whispered to the girl next to me - "What do I say?" Something tells me MJ didn't have the same fears in a game's final minutes... That first day I didn't completely overcome my nerves, but I definitely made huge strides. It didn't hurt that the entire office was welcoming and incredibly helpful, doing their best to integrate me into the system during such a busy time.

    Now I still do not know how good of a grasp I will get on all the GRPs, CPMs, VPVH's etc. (Editor's Note: What are these?), but I do know that I will not let the fear of failure dictate how I approach this summer internship. Instead, I plan on doing what Michael Jordan said, and live every moment for the moment. And why shouldn't I? I am in a city that people dream of living in, working an internship, which had been out of my wildest dreams only a few months ago. I am incredibly blessed. And while I realize that this summer will be a challenge, I know how to respond to failures and learn from my mistakes. Through lacrosse I have learned to fight through insecurities and other inhibitors, and I am now prepared to not only face the challenges in front of me today, but also enjoy the challenges as I pursue my goals. This is a lesson that Michael Jordan - the high school student who was cut from the varsity basketball team who became the most highly decorated basketball player in history - taught the world.  Is there a better success story in the world of sports?

    A Two-Sport Standout: Brittany Mallory

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    Check out this great feature on graduate student and two-sport star Brittany Mallory, courtesy of the Fighting Irish Digital Media student crew. Better known for her time on the basketball court, Mallory is also making a big impact on the field for the 13-4 Notre Dame women's lacrosse team.

    After you watch the video, there's also a nice article from Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune as Mallory and her lacrosse teammates prepare to take on defending champion Northwestern in a first round NCAA matchup on Saturday at 4 pm ET.

    Here's an excerpt from the story. Hersh writes,

    The idea of trying lacrosse again developed out of a lighthearted exchange in August between Mallory and first-year Irish lacrosse coach Christine Halfpenny.

    "She was joking around, saying when you get finished with basketball, come pick up a stick," Mallory said. "Then it happened, and it's pretty shocking."

    Halfpenny asked her players to sign off on asking Mallory to join the team before the two met five days after the basketball title game. Six days later, Mallory made her first of five appearances in the team's last six games.

    For more on tomorrow's big game, visit UND.com. Tune in at 4 pm ET on the Big Ten Digital Network or listen to Northwestern's radio broadcast to follow the Irish in Evanston.

    A Special Senior Day at Arlotta Stadium

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    Major League Baseball has day-night doubleheaders, and today, Arlotta Stadium had one too. The Notre Dame women's and men's lacrosse teams closed out impressive regular season on Saturday, knocking off BIG EAST foes Cincinnati and Syracuse, respectively.

    First-year head coach Christine Halfpenny's squad kicked off the day with a dominant 22-2 win over the Bearcats. The Irish honored eight seniors on the field before the game, including Brittany Mallory, who's much better known for her accomplishments on the hardwood.

    Mallory joined the lacrosse team earlier this month, and to the delight of fans in attendance (especially her basketball teammates), she netted the first goal of her collegiate career from a free position shot with just six seconds remaining.

    Thirteen players scored for Notre Dame, led by junior Jenny Granger and sophomores Lauren Sullivan and Lindsay Powell, who each recorded hat tricks. Senior Maggie Tamasitis had six assists to go along with one goal.

    With the win, the Fighting Irish improved to 13-3 overall and finished 6-2 in conference play. They will play second-seeded Loyola (Md.) on Thursday at 5:30 pm on CBS Sports Network in the BIG EAST semifinals.

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    In the nightcap, the Irish men's lacrosse team picked up its first win over Syracuse in program history, winning an exciting 8-6 game before a capacity crowd of 4,522. The packed house braved the cold in support of the Irish and their twelve seniors making their final home appearance.

    Led by Ryan Foley's pair of goals, seven players scored for Notre Dame, as the Irish clinched their first-ever BIG EAST regular season title. Head coach Kevin Corrigan's team finishes the season with an 11-1 record, including a 6-0 mark in the conference. The Irish have won ten in a row since dropping a 4-3 overtime decision against Penn State on Feb. 26.

    Notre Dame's postseason journey begins on Thursday at Villanova when it takes on St. John's in the BIG EAST conference semifinals. That game will begin at 4:30 pm ET and air on ESPNU.

    Stay tuned to UND.com for more from Notre Dame's outstanding season finale at Arlotta Stadium.

    - Josh Flynt ('11)

    Student. Athlete. Irish.

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    Live Blog: Women's Lacrosse vs. Syracuse

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    Ninth-ranked Notre Dame returns to the field this evening at 7:00 pm ET when it takes on #2 Syracuse in a BIG EAST conference game at Arlotta Stadium.

    The game will be broadcast on CBS College Sports Network, but Irish UNDerground will also have all the angles in and around the action covered throughout today's game too. Be sure to share your questions, comments and complaints and let your voice be heard throughout the Notre Dame nation, as the Fighting Irish look to bounce back from last week's loss at Loyola.

    Want to track all the action from your mobile device? No problem.

    Simply click (or to be phone friendly, "touch") HERE.

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