10 Notre Dame Football Traditions You Never Knew About

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Irish bagpipes echo in the distance and smoke from hotdogs and hamburgers leave campus in a foggy haze. Leprechaun face tattoo and synthetic hand warmer sales are at all time highs. Fans of all ages gather, decked out in green, blue and gold, to cheer on the Fighting Irish. It’s football Saturday at the University of Notre Dame.

1. Waking up to the screech of the band

“It’s Saturday morning and a stream of Notre Dame boys are already awake screaming outside my window. I’m barely awake, wanting another five minutes of rest before another inevitably long day but then, like my own personal alarm clock set for 8:26 a.m., the fight song resounds through the windows and down the halls of my dorm. That’s when you know its game day!” -Kaheke Martinson, Notre Dame junior

2. A Papa Smurf at Between the Bun’s

“Between the Buns is a bar that students go to very early in the morning. It’s usually at capacity by 9 in the morning. The bar is by most of the student off-campus housing, so you can literally roll out of bed and order their specialty drink, a big blue mix-y called a “Papa Smurf.” -Jennifer Proper, Notre Dame senior

3. Kegs and Eggs

“Eating college kid-made breakfast and hanging out with your friends in the morning is the perfect pump-up for a long day of tailgating.” –Karishma Patel, Notre Dame senior

4. The O’Neill “Bus Tailgate”


Trent La

“Three years ago, a group of rising O’Neill hall seniors decided to buy a school bus that was for sale in Michigan. It was originally intended for NASCAR tailgating, but they thought it would be the perfect cherry on top for their senior year. For liability purposes and insurance, they created an LLC called The Bus, LLC. Intended to be a “catering” service, this company had shareholders who wanted to service fun and recreation to the Notre Dame tailgating community on game days. In its inaugural season, The Bus, LLC tailgates at every home game, and even made the trek to Ann Arbor, Michigan.” –Trent La, Notre Dame senior

5. Tailgating in the “Lots”


“Once the day gets started, nothing beats the tailgating in the parking lots at Notre Dame. A lot of people like to stick to friend and family tailgates which is fun, but me and my friends try to be nomads, hitting up random spots. Notre Dame fans are the friendliest around so you’ll always find someone asking you to eat their food and take drinks.” –Alex Sganga, Notre Dame Senior

6. Zahm Game Day Flag


Chris Revord

“Every Thursday before game day weekend, Zahm House raises the “Here Comes The Irish” banner. The event is usually accompanied by a barbecue. It’s been around for years now, but this season’s banner is new, as some Louisville fans ripped the old one.” –Chris Revord, Notre Dame senior

7. Being absolutely freezing the whole day


Paige Affinity

“I always make sure to wear a bunch of layers to football games but my feet and toes make it the hardest to brace the cold. Those hand and feet warmers are a must have!” -Kristina Stang, Notre Dame senior

8. Straight silence for the public safety

“The fourth quarter public safety announcement at Notre Dame is a moment that bonds the entire stadium together—students, fans, alumni, even the players become silent. Tim McCarthy warns everyone of the dangers of drinking and driving, followed by an original pun. When the inevitable pun lands, the eruption of laughter is always on cue. I like to think that the visiting team wonders with a bit of admiration: is this school full of nerds?” –Marty Burns, Notre Dame senior

9. Seniors throwing marshmallows in the student section

“During the last home game of the season, all the seniors sneak bags of marshmallows into the stadium and throw them all throughout the student section during the game. The sky above is literally filled with flying marshmallows and at the end of every last home game I have they’re all over me!” –Claire Magnuson, Notre Dame senior

10. Singing the alma mater at the end of each game

Sept. 21, 2013; The football team sings the Alma Mater with the student section after the win over Michigan State. Photo by Matt Cashore

 Matt Cashore

“Singing the alma mater—win or lose—after football games is honestly one of the most moving moments in all of college football. More than just about the game, it’s a way for the student body and broader ND community to unite in their shared love of Notre Dame. And it’s made even sweeter when it can kick off the celebrations for an Irish win!” –Allie Klien, Notre Dame senior

Soon-to-be tax accountant, folk music fanatic, and one of the seven people on earth who regularly messages via Snapchat.

Oh, and Senior at the University of Notre Dame. Go Irish!

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