Imagine for a moment that you live in a neighborhood with an available house on either side of your property. Now imagine I give you the opportunity to “draft” your neighbors with the following rules:
- You will become friends with this person.
- Their presence will benefit you or your neighborhood in a positive way.
- They must be a former or current Notre Dame athlete in any sport.
- They must be alive.
This hypothetical is inspired by the Dan Patrick Show, which did a celebrity neighbor draft recently. It was brought to my attention by Sean Stires, who posed a similar question - pick two neighbors that played professional sports - on Weekday Sportsbeat, which airs in South Bend (and is available as a podcast).
With the first pick in the 2017 Notre Dame Neighbor Draft, I select:
JOEY GETHERALL, WIDE RECEIVER, 1997-2001
I’ve always had a soft spot for stud athletes who were approximately my size. Getherall, at 5-foot-7, and Notre Dame centerfielder Steve Stanley, at 5-foot-8, were my two favorite student-athletes when I was an undergraduate.
Getherall was a wide receiver during an era of anemic Notre Dame Fighting Irish passing attacks. While he caught just 17 balls in 2000, the California native was the team’s leading receiver for yardage gained - 323. (No, that is not a misprint.)
His true utility was in punt and kickoff returns. In his career, Getherall returned two punt returns for touchdowns. The biggest one was against the No. 1 Nebraska Cornhuskers during the home opener in 2000. It was so sorely needed. Notre Dame, led by Arnaz Battle, produced just 224 of offense in a game that would go to overtime.
With the team trailing 21-14, Getherall fielded a Nebraska punt at his own 17-yard-line. And then this:
Now, I’m sure Joey and I — as new best friends and neighbors — could reminisce for a while about the great moments in the Bob Davie era. But after we exhausted that topic in an hour’s time (I kid), what else could we talk about?
This brings me to the real reason why I want Joey Getherall as my neighbor. He’s an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department with a canine as a partner. A BOMB-SNIFFING CANINE. And he gets to provide security detail for dignitaries that come through Los Angeles.
No one is going to mess with my neighborhood when they find out Joey Getherall, speedy cop with a bomb-sniffing dog, lives there.
With the second pick in the 2017 Notre Dame Neighbor Draft, I select:
DAVA NEWMAN, WOMEN’S BASKETBALL, 1983-1984
If you don’t remember Dava Newman ’86 for her playing career, you’re probably not alone.
Newman, a 5-foot-5 guard from California, was on the Notre Dame women’s basketball team for just two years.
“It was great. My teammates were phenomenal,” Newman said in an interview last year with her other alma mater, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “That was back in the early 80s, so women’s basketball from Notre Dame, they had just become Division 1. So we were just starting to climb up. We did pretty well. We broke into the top 20, maybe the top 10 actually, as well as we did. I was only on the team for two years, then I started coaching at a high school, which was a great experience. It was with inner city kids. I’m sure they taught me as much as I could help to coach them and mentor them.”
Newman, by her own admission, was also an accomplished ski racer in high school. So while it would be fun to have a neighbor who could play a little hoops and ski, Newman would make a great addition to my cul-de-sac because she’s the DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR OF NASA. Yeah, like second in charge of our county’s space program.
Newman has designed spacesuits. She’s run the Boston Marathon. She’s researching ways to allow children with cerebral palsy to move easier. She has a robot assistant — or at least did at some point.
I would not run out of topics to talk to Newman about. Her husband, Gui Trotti, is accomplished in his own right. He’s designed the galley and crew quarters of the International Space Station. He had the winning design for the South Pole Station. He’s come up with concepts for lunar bases, underwater laboratories and ecotourism resorts.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
Following the four rules above, who are the former or current Notre Dame athletes you’d most like to be neighbors with? Leave your suggestions in the comments.