This whole post is an opportunity for us all to share in the greatness that is The Slippery Fox. Chris Finke has had an impact on all of us as Irish fans, and we deserve to show him that respect. I think over the last few years, people have become a bit more invested in who these guys are as people as well as football players. The winning since 2017 has helped, but you truly root for these Notre Dame Fighting Irish players on and off the field. It’s been an amazing thing to see, and it is a true testament, I think, to why we love watching these college kids play football. Chris embodies that at least for me and probably for many others, too.
Throwing it Back to 2015
When Chris Finke came to Notre Dame as a freshman, he was seemingly this quieter kid that had to live in the shadow of some teammates. Chris played with both Malik Zaire and Nick Coleman at Archbishop Alter High School in Kettering, OH (and as Joshua would say...#OHIO). However, he was not on scholarship and granted preferred walk-on status. We all know this.
Coming from the Dayton area, he of course continued his Midwest roots at Notre Dame. Fortunately for me personally, Chris ended up randomly assigned to my dorm and my section senior year: Keough Hall, Section 4A (WHAT UP RED ARMY). He lived in the room diagonally across the hall from me. I remember meeting him, and he would humbly say that he was on the football team. And, I kept seeing him around the dorm.
Many of my friends and I would say that we had a pretty strong community in our section. Not everyone was involved in the antics, and that was just fine. Chris wasn’t really involved with any antics either, but he would be around the dorm at night hanging out or doing homework. I would get to know him here and there and talk to him about what it was like to be on the team. He was just a genuinely good dude.
Creating His Own Shadow
Right before the 2016 season, just one year after being on the team as a preferred walk-on, Chris was given a full scholarship to be on the team.
That scholarship feeling for Chris Finke Notre Dame Football #BRxNDPosted by Bleacher Report on Tuesday, August 23, 2016
His teammates are ALL about it. After knowing him personally, I was pumped such a good guy was working hard to get a scholarship.
The 2016 season was abysmal, we don’t need to go into that. However, Finke did have 2 TD catches later in the season that year. In 2017, he started to make a bit more of an impact between the end zones, as he was running plays out of the slot as well as returning punts pretty well for the team. In 2018, he broke even more out of his shell with a couple more TDs and many more grabs amidst the corps of Miles Boykin and Chase Claypool. Last season, we can never forget the legend of THE MOSS touchdown, too.
After this, I think people started to know who Chris Finke was (and the bird walk, too).
Now, in this coming season, he will be one of the main receivers, along with Claypool, as Ian Book’s main targets. He literally came from his unassuming nature to now a big force on the field while not letting his ego get to him. Going back to my friends from the dorm, we are such huge fans of who Chris is on and off the field, that every time he makes a big play this is what our group chat looks like:
Final Ride for the Slippery Fox
This will be Chris Finke’s last season as a Notre Dame player. Due to his walk-on status in his first year, he was eligible for a fifth year, which is this season. Last year, the day after the Michigan game, I ran into him and got to chatting for a couple minutes (YES, this is a humblebrag that I know him enough to speak to him). I told him how awesome he did, and again, he was so humble about the game even though he already had a candidate for play of the season. I also asked him if he was coming back for a fifth year, and he said, “If they have me back.”
The way that Chris Finke goes about his business and interacts with everyone is just plain awesome. The respect he gives everyone, and how in today’s flashy college football world, it’s refreshing to see a hard working student athlete with that kind of great attitude.
What began the thought process for writing about Chris Finke was the article that just came out about him. In the article, it mentions that he keeps a “Doubters List” of people who told him he was never going to be good enough. To see that be motivation for his success is badass, but it also keeps him grounded and a team player. Now, he is going to be a captain for this season, and deservedly so.
Personally, Chris Finke is an excellent microcosm for watching college sports and getting invested in it. These are kids that have goals and dreams, and we can’t forget that. But, not just because I have gotten to know him a bit, I think we as Irish fans and football fans can look to Chris for inspiration and the true reason why we watch college sports. We like to see these interest stories that show us true determination from people that want to succeed for the team and for what they represent. We saw this with Brandon Wimbush even though he struggled a bit on the field. The support for him on his senior night against FSU was fantastic to see. You could find this with so many other players throughout the year. Chris Finke is truly great, and it’s been awesome to see him succeed so much in his time at Notre Dame.
As a captain now, I’m excited for him to lead the team this year. And, here is to more touchdowns for him so that our group chat can look like it does above more than a handful of times. Thank you, Chris, and give ‘em hell this year.