My name is Lauren Dangel and I’m the newest staff writer for One Foot Down. I am a 2018 graduate of Lou Holtz’s alma mater, Kent State University. I may be a Golden Flash by enrollment and graduation, but Notre Dame has had such a unique meaning to me since I was just three years old. When most young girls’ idols wore tiaras, mine wore a gold football helmet. During my early childhood years, my dad was often away on business. Watching the film Rudy became a special way for us to connect when he was home. Though when he was away, we had an agreement. During his numerous Midwestern sales calls, he would call me each day, and always let me know if he passed by “Rudy’s place,” or the exit by Notre Dame’s campus. I also grew to admire the history and tradition of the school and athletic program as Notre Dame tied me closer to my huge Irish Catholic family. As I entered my high school years, I dreamed of going to school there myself. You’d better believe I knew nd.edu inside and out, had the alma mater memorized and had countless monogram doodles in my notebooks. I was always looking for an excuse to talk about my dream. For four years, I competed on my high school’s speech and debate team, and my event, original oratory, gave me the ultimate excuse.
My senior year piece focused on entering new phases of life when circumstances seem intimidating, using the transition to college as a running example. In the world of nerdy awesomeness that is high school speech and debate, competitors often earn nicknames based on their pieces. Other “speechies” referred to me as “Rudy Girl” or “Notre Dame Girl,” which never failed to make me smile. I went to the state tournament that year with my own words; that has been one of my proudest accomplishments. Every time I headed to the front of the room to speak, I remembered that three year old girl, thrilled to have one small connection to “Rudy’s place.”
I am so excited to combine my passions for writing and the gold and blue and provide new insight on the blog. Follow me on Twitter @lauren_dangel