Oct 3, 2013, 8:55 AM EDT
Mike Franz, the official 2013-14 men’s basketball beat writer for the In The Paint blog, is currently a sophomore at the Holy Cross College. Over the course of the year Mike will bring you insight from within the student section, interviews with Fighting Irish players and stories about Irish athletic squads . You can follow Mike (and the rest of the Notre Dame student beat writing staff) on twitter at @JrNDBloggers.
Wednesday marked the inaugural ACC sporting event inside Purcell Pavilion as the Notre Dame volleyball team faced off against the Duke Blue Devils. Although Notre Dame fell to the Blue Devils 3-1, this was an extremely exciting ACC match-up in the Purcell Pavilion, one of many to come for the Irish. On a night of firsts, another first was this being the first sporting event with the new leprechaun statue in the building.
Notre Dame is all about traditions: From the football players smacking the “Play Like A Champion Today” sign to students rubbing Knute Rockne’s nose in the Rock. The addition of this new leprechaun statue just beyond Gate 10 of the Purcell Pavilion may be the start to the newest tradition for Notre Dame students.
Being located at the very gate where students pour in to go see the Fighting Irish play basketball and volleyball, it is the opportune spot for a new tradition to flourish. Depicting the school’s mascot, this statue symbolizes everything Notre Dame stands for.
Last Friday at the statue’s unveiling, Tim Merck, who along with his family, donated money for this statue to be erected, said, “We hope and trust that this beautiful leprechaun will remind everyone of the fighting spirit of Notre Dame that started back when Father Sorin founded the school, and we hope that it will live on.”
Tonight I found myself, when I walked by the statue, rubbing the gold buckles on the leprechaun’s loafers for good luck both when I entered the building and left after the volleyball match. Although this may not be the actual tradition that will become embedded into Notre Dame’s culture, it certainly is exciting to be a part of the Leprechaun Legion with a new tradition being born right before our eyes.
This new leprechaun was sculpted at a perfect time in the Notre Dame school year with the men and women’s basketball teams beginning to practice in preparation for their first ACC campaigns. Being the premiere season in a new conference, every game Notre Dame athletics plays this year will be a new experience for Irish faithful to have and this leprechaun statue will add to the excitement.
Wanting to get the opinion of a real leprechaun, I asked Leprechaun Lou what it’s like to be the guy in the green suit for Notre Dame’s first game with the Atlantic Coast Conference at the Purcell Pavilion. He said, “It’s special. If Notre Dame and the ACC maintain a healthy relationship, it will be special to say I was here as the Leprechaun for the first game.”
Notre Dame’s next chance to implant this leprechaun statue in the Irish tradition will be Friday as the Notre Dame Volleyball team takes on the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest at 7:00 p.m. (ET). If you come to the game, be sure to rub the leprechaun’s gold buckles on his loafers for good luck!!
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