April 25, 2000
by Jane E. Pater
If they had a place in the dictionary, Irish seniors Keith Parendo and Dave
Rubano would be found next to the term "for the love of the game."
Although their paths to Notre Dame and their careers in an Irish
uniform have been different, it is obvious how much these two simply enjoy
playing the game.
After starting out in the youth leagues in his hometown of West
Islip, N.Y., Rubano continued playing through high school and was then
recruited by the Irish. After weighing his options, both academically and
athletically, Rubano decided coming to Notre Dame was the best fit for him.
For Parendo, a 5-9 attack from Mineola, N.Y., his early years of
playing lacrosse were similar to those of his teammate. However, once he
began to look at colleges, his path diverged from those of many of the
other Irish players.
"I was recruited by a couple of other schools but not by Notre
Dame," Parendo says. "When I was accepted here, I decided on Notre Dame for
the education it was going to provide for me. I knew that I could walk-on
to the lacrosse team, but was both my freshman and sophomore years. I
stuck with it, and made the team last year."
Although he has only been a member of the team for two seasons,
Rubano insists that Parendo is still "one of the boys."
Both players enjoy the camaraderie of the team and particular "closeness"
of this Irish squad.
"These guys have become like my family." Rubano says. "We're forty
guys strong. Everyone likes everyone else, and we work very well
together." Parendo adds, "It's that unity that makes us special."
In the midst of a four-game winning streak, the Irish have recently
risen to No. 12 in the polls. Their victory against Army marked coach
Kevin Corrigan's 100th victory as the director of the Irish lacrosse
While they may not be the team leaders in a statistical category,
Parendo and Rubano continue to help the team stay focused - taking one
game at a time. In that respect, their role on the team is as important as
that of any starter.
Besides staying focused on the field, both seniors believe that
lacrosse has helped them focus in the classroom as well. Parendo notes
that his grades have improved since he joined the team. The time
commitment required by an athletes forces them to focus on time management.
The commitment that playing a varsity sport demands has
reminded both Parendo and Rubano about the benefits of sticking with
something you really enjoy. Despite their imited playing time, neither
athlete has ever thought twice about his decision to play lacrosse at Notre
Dame. Playing lacrosse has ingrained in them a sense of humility that has
encouraged them to give back to the community some of what they have gained
Though their careers as Irish athletes may end when this season
does, their dedication to the sport will continue. Both have coached at
summer camps and in pee-wee leagues in an effort to ensure that the next
generation of players comes to the field with as much enthusiasm as these
two will leave with once their careers are over. "It's a lot of fun,"
Parendo says. "It's great to be able to give back to the kids."
Their experiences with the lacrosse team have taught them many
lessons, ones that they will take with them outside of Notre Dame. The
lessons he has gained during his four year as both a student and lacrosse
player, reminds Ruban of the old analogy, "It's like climbing stairs, you
take one at a time. Hopefully, we're taking the right steps to achieve our
With only two games remaining on the regular schedule this season,
Parendo and Rubano plan on taking full advantage of the rest of their time
as Irish lacrosse players. They are still intent on helping their
teammates stay focused and will continue to serve as constant sources of
encouragement for the guys on the field.
Despite seeing limited playing time, Rubano's commitment to his
teammates and to his team is unfailing. At the same time, Parendo's love
for the game is evident in his dedication to making the squad.
On every team, the players acting in supporting roles are vital to
the success of the team as a whole. With guys like Keith Parendo and Dave
Rubano filling those roles for the Irish, it is no wonder the team is
soaring to new heights.