Everyone has a certain reason why they root for a specific college team. Whether it’s due to being an alumni of the school, proximity, connection to family or other reasons, college sports fandom runs deep in the hearts of die-hard fans. Here’s how I became a fan of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
In Illinois, ice hockey is one of the fastest growing sports. Since the Chicago Blackhawks started competing for Stanley Cups on a yearly basis, the popularity of the sport has grown considerably. Nowadays, it’s hard not to find a hockey game on TV in the Chicagoland area.
But that isn’t how it used to be.
Before 2007, when the Blackhawks began their current run of championship caliber hockey, they were often one of the worst teams in the league. Nobody really cared about the Blackhawks, and their home games weren’t even shown on TV. To watch their games, you had to actually go to them, something only about 3,000 people would do on a nightly basis.
My Dad used to have partial season tickets to the Blackhawks, and he would take my older brother and me to games from time to time. My Dad eventually got tired of watching them lose, so one day he decided to switch things up a bit.
He wanted to take my brother and me to a college hockey game. However, Illinois doesn’t have a single college that has Division I ice hockey, so he looked up what the closest school that had a major college hockey team was. He eventually found the answer: the University of Notre Dame.
So one Friday night in 2007, we made the hour and a half car ride from our home in Tinley Park, Illinois to South Bend, Indiana to watch the Notre Dame Fighting Irish ice hockey team. This was before the Compton Family Ice Arena was built and Notre Dame played their home games at an ice rink in the Joyce Center.
I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere. The fans in the student section were rowdy and chanting at the opposing goalie. The band was blasting the school fight song after a goal. It wasn’t the most glamorous college hockey barn, but it had a certain charm to it.
In addition to winning that game, Notre Dame hockey also won a fan that night.
I started following and cheering on the Notre Dame ice hockey team after that. Eventually, I started watching Notre Dame football games, and then I started to watch Notre Dame basketball games. Before I knew it, I was a full blown Notre Dame fan.
My name is Michael Ivey and I am originally from Tinley Park, Illinois. I am currently a senior communications major at Holy Cross College in South Bend, Indiana, right across the street from the University of Notre Dame. When I’m not attending class at Holy Cross, I live with my Mom, Dad, and older brother at our house in Tinley Park. My family also has two pet bulldogs.
My brother attended Notre Dame and graduated from the Mendoza College of Business in 2016. When it was time to make my college decision, I choose Holy Cross in part because I was familiar with the South Bend area from visiting him and attending Notre Dame football and hockey games. Once at Holy Cross, I joined the Notre Dame student newspaper, The Observer, as a sports writer. I’ve had the privilege to write about and cover a number of Notre Dame sports teams, including the men’s and women’s tennis teams, the swimming and diving team, the softball team, the men’s soccer team, and the ice hockey team. I’ve also been fortunate enough to work a number of Notre Dame home football games, including the Georgia and Wake Forest games this past season.
I am honored and excited to become a member of the One Foot Down and SB Nation communities. I will assist with providing coverage for Notre Dame teams like hockey, lacrosse, and a few other sports. I have been a frequent reader of One Foot Down since my freshman year of college, and this is usually the first website I visit when a major Notre Dame news story breaks. The majority of readers who come to websites like this one are hardcore fans, and that is what I love so much about sports blogs. Fans need to know the news about their favorite teams as soon as possible, and I am excited to help provide that news coverage to all of the die-hard Notre Dame supporters out there. Go Irish!