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Seven Months

Mar 30, 2014, 7:12 PM EDT

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Last year, I was just a Notre Dame Hockey fan. As such, I invested a decent amount of time watching and listening to games, reading recaps, and studying statistics. It was fun, and it ended too soon.

This year, I was a Notre Dame Hockey fan and the Notre Dame Hockey Jr. Blogger. As such, I invested a considerable amount of time watching and listening to games, composing tweets, interviewing coaches and players, walking to and from Compton, studying statistics, writing articles, making lists, and transcribing interviews. “Fun” is an understatement, and it ended too soon.

Way back in August when I chose to be the Jr. Blogger for hockey rather than for football or basketball, I kept in mind the length of the season: long. (Because I like my job, that was a plus.) It’s been roughly seven months since the exhibition game against Guelph–can you believe it? But now that those seven months are over, here are some of the things that made this season so much different that last year for me.

Two-Minute Power Play.

With Two-Minute Power Play, I got to know every single member of the team. Do I know them well? Not by any means. It takes far more than 20 questions and a roster biography to get to know a person, especially when the questions are things like “If someone wrote a book about you, what would the title be?” Nevertheless, what I did learn about the 27 individuals on the team is that they’re polite, thoughtful, funny, and personable. Many described themselves as “shy,” which seemed to be true, but it never made them less likable. As a fellow shy person, it actually made them more relatable. I also learned that, in general, they loved “Rocket Power” when they were kids, they’re fiscally responsible (most of them would invest and/or save a million dollars), they have amazing parents who they love and appreciate, they’re impressively musical, and despite playing a sport that requires lots of ice, they love summer. Not to mention, they did a great job answering my weird questions. I don’t even know what my own answers would be to them, so they’ve got me beat. Simply stated, this is a great group of guys. There are some interviews yet to be published, but read them all if you can.

My day hour in the heart of Compton.

On December 6, I shadowed Dave “Gilly” Gilbert and learned more in the one hour there than I probably did in all my classes that week. I always knew there was a lot of behind-the-scenes work involved, but whoa. Read my article about it here.

Fenway.

How often do you get to see your favorite college team play in such a legendary and storied sports venue? I didn’t get to go to Frozen Fenway because I’m the hockey blogger, but it made it so much cooler. Being a member of the media has many perks. Getting into the Fenway Park press box is one of them.

Seat 22.

That was where I sat game after game in the Compton Family Ice Arena press box. Seat 22 was usually my assignment, although every once in a while I was bumped one over to 23. Also pertaining to the number 22–and it has nothing to do with Mario Lucia–I was at 22 games in person this season, which includes my short road trip to Kalamazoo and my longer air trip to Boston. I missed two home games because we NARPs (Non-Athletic Regular People) were still on Christmas break, but every other time, I was there for at least part of the game. (I guess that sort of has something to do with Mario because he was at all those games too, but that’s a stretch.)

The Mo-Wards

I took a small gamble in early December and handed a stack of ballots to Tim Connor, the ever-helpful and omniscient sports information director, that he relayed to the team. I would have been glad to get 6 of them back, filled out, but I got 20, which means I was only missing 6. I counted them up and “gave out” what I’m hoping was the first annual (and not the first and only) Mo-Wards. Maybe someday there will even be a real ceremony. (Side note: After looking at the ballots, it’s nice to know that there are other people in the world as indecisive as I am. Also, there’s a slight chance Eric Johnson’s legal name might be “Moose.”)

I became a campus celebrity.

That’s not true at all.

I have a 29th reason to love Notre Dame Hockey.

Oh no. She’s getting sentimental. Only a little, and I’ll keep it short: This season was boss. I had a great time, met a lot of people, learned a lot of things, and realized that I get waaaaaaaay too emotionally invested in sports.

 

So here’s to you, 2013-14 Notre Dame Hockey season. You had your ups, and you had your downs. You knocked years off my life, but you gave me joy and a really fun way to put off my schoolwork. It’s been real.

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