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ND Lax: Midterms, Navy Scrimmage and On The Field at Notre Dame Stadium

Oct 31, 2012, 2:09 PM EDT

Hello again, lacrosse fans, blog fans, supermodels, and others reading this blog. It is time for the second Notre Dame lacrosse blog. This week’s edition covers the final week leading up to our fall break. Midterms were over on about Thursday and we were getting pumped up to play our final fall game against Navy. I could elaborate on midterms further, but I literally cringe just typing the word. I’ll just skip to the good stuff…

Immediately following Friday’s practice, we rushed into the locker room and sat in the lounge, soon to be joined by the women’s lacrosse team. Mrs. Anderson, the wife of Notre Dame lacrosse volunteer coach Kevin Anderson, was eager to introduce us to our speaker. When she introduced Chris Herron I instantly remembered his story made famous from ESPN’s 30 for 30 Unguarded.

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Former NBA player Chris Herren spoke to us about his life and battle with drug addiction.

His message was very powerful, direct, and passionate. He related to the team and spoke about how he was in the exact same position we are all in now. Except at that point in his life, he made a bad decision. His decision propelled his life into a downward spiral for the next 14 years. He told us how addiction could happen to anybody, from any background, in any location. He also told us the best way to fight it. He urged us to embrace the team and our teammates and never lose someone to something that could have been prevented. It was a very powerful message and could not have been displayed with any more passion then Chris used. After Chris’s speech we all sat talking bout how impactful his message really was.

Then coach announced a surprise speaker. We were all unsure there was anybody that could follow a speech like Chris’s but were eager to find out who was going to try. As soon as he walked in, we all recognized the GameDay guru, Kirk Herbstreit.

It was pretty strange to let the mood quickly go from serious to hilarious, but Kirk had the team roaring in about thirty seconds. He reminisced about the last time he was out to ND for college game week and how it seemed like eternities ago.  He also cleared the air with the “Notre Dame hating” he has appeared to have over the last couple of years. Well, not really cleared the air, but made us laugh to the point where it didn’t matter. He concluded with stating how it is a privilege to play sports at the level we play and take full advantage of every opportunity it provides – the next opportunity being the following day’s game, against Navy.

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Posing for a picture with Herbie.

The next day…

It was a typical fall Saturday at 9 am and the Notre Dame campus was already bustling with fans. You could hear talks of the undefeated Irish buzzing throughout the crowds and everyone seemed eager to face another opponent. There had only been two previous fall scrimmages, but the fans knew the significance. Of course, this was the last day of fall ball and we knew hundreds of thousands of Irish fans had come to watch. There was also a football game or something, but I’m pretty sure we were the undefeated team creating all the hype.

The team sat in the locker room, beginning to prepare for our last fall scrimmage with Navy. Some men were getting taped, some were listening to “pump up” music, but most were in the lounge finishing an episode of Swamp People. There is no better way to prepare for a game. While we began to get focused, we were still remembering the words of Chris Herren and Kirk Herbstreit from the day before.

I could attempt to describe in vivid detail the events that took place the next morning, but I will let the video speak for itself.

It was a great opportunity to play a very talented and hard working team at the end of fall ball. I would like to thank all the midshipmen for coming out to South Bend, as well as for their commitment to our country.

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Junior midfielder Tyler Brenneman was so excited I’m pretty sure he never stopped yelling, or taking selfies.

Now that the work of the day was over, it was time to celebrate the conclusion of fall ball in the best possible way…. field passes. Remember how I thought we had a football game, WE DID! Although most of the fans left Notre Dame because our scrimmage had concluded, some stuck around to see the Irish in action against the Stanford Whatever They Are. As soon as we had showered, and had a celebratory techno dance off in the locker room, we headed to the lacrosse tent right outside the stadium to grab some delicious BBQ with some of the Navy players. Defensemen Tyler Andersen even got a lesson in how to look and eat presentably by the Navy players, who looked incredibly sharp in their uniforms. Senior defensemen and captain Matt Miller definitely kept a close eye on his girlfriend as the Navy players entered the tent to eat.

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Freshmen Eddy Lubowicki even got a few snaps in.

After eating, we hustled over to the gate leading onto the field and were handed our field passes. Incognito were alum, who have been included in every blog so far (they might as well still be on the team), Nick Beattie, Bobby Smith, and Devon Dobson. I definitely saw Devon cross-check jamming and Beattie swim-dodging, and walking the dog, through the crowd to get onto the field.

Right before the teams came out of the tunnel we were ushered onto midfield, as the announcer recognized our accomplishments of last season. The roar of the crowd was incredible, and we all huddled around for a team photo.

After the team photo we were ushered off the field and told to go up to our seats in the stands. Needless to say, we quickly blended into the crowd to stay on the field for as long as we could.

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Junior midfielder Westy Hopkins tried to learn from the master of sideline incognito himself, Vince Vaughn.

The experience we received that weekend is nothing short of incredible. Receiving two talks from some of the most inspirational speakers ever, playing the best sport ever, and then being on the field for the second-best sport ever, was simply amazing. Rushing the field, with the entire student section, after the Irish defeated Stanford will always stay with me. The University of Notre Dame really has provided the ultimate opportunity for my teammates and I to experience things everyday that most people would kill to do. I cannot express enough my gratitude to this University.

Last but not least, the awards of the week.

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Best use of Timberland-Jeans Combination Award:
Junior attackman Alex Eaton.
Simply killing it.

Rookie Performance of the Week
This week’s award goes to freshmen Matt “Kavlax” Kavanagh. Not only for scoring more goals than he could count to (4) in the scrimmage, but for also registering another sweet lefty finish off of a fast break (and giving me my second and probably last assist of my college career).

Alumni Performance of the Week
Bobby Smith, for singing loudly along with the national anthem before the football game to the best of his abilities. Granted, it was terrible and filled with voice cracks, but he really gave it his all. I respect that. America.

Best Pinch and Pop Faceoff Win to Righty Shot on the Run Before Getting Dropped Award
Liam O’Connor. Although he paid the price of stitches to the chin, I think he would agree that receiving this prestigious award was worth it. “Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Winning the “Best Pinch and Pop Faceoff Win to Righty Shot on the Run Before Getting Dropped Award” lasts forever. – Shane Falco

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