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Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football: Fighting Through Covid and 2020 With Fun

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It’s been tough, but the resilience shows in the team culture

NCAA Football: Virginia at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

I truly am proud of the team for their collective attitude

So, as we all know, there have many ups and downs with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2020 season. Covid seemed under control over the summer. Then the fall seemed to start off just fine. Now, we’re in the middle of a break in the action because of some heightened positive case numbers. Luckily, Wednesday we can see practice begin again after a week hiatus.

Today, I want to commend this group in the football program. Yes, some guys just tested positive causing some issues. But, through the whole process since we knew an ACC season was going to begin for the Irish, I keep thinking of one word: resilience.

The team came together in a time of racial unrest in the country, and they were true leaders for how a college football team should come together. There were MANY takes about college football and if they should play, and people had numerous motives for having their thoughts. However, I saw young men coming together in the middle of unrest and a pandemic to realize the team, Notre Dame, and community were important above all else. Playing football was a way to honor all of those aspects of being a part of the Notre Dame Football program.

New Mexico v Notre Dame
Daelin Hayes (right) seen here with Jalen Elliot and Khalid Kareem last season. Hayes has been a true team leader as a captain but as a voice for the team.
Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Another part of the resilience has been on the field. One thing that did not seem to get talked about with the slow start to the season in the opener against Duke was some psychological effects. Yeah, Ian Book seemed more hesitant, and the offense was a bit stalled. Again, he (and others) are guys in their early 20s. We knew that Book basically was not seeing many people (if anyone) outside of practice. With anyone, but especially someone who is in a social/team sport in a social place such as a college campus, that isolation will affect them. I believe that the slow start on the field was shown by Book partially because the isolation probably had an effect on him that he didn’t even realize. This is of course speculation, as I’m not totally sure. But, as someone who has let the isolation/quarantine get to me, an extroverted person, I could imagine that might’ve happened to Book too.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

But, with all of this, the team sits at 2-0 in a weird season. They are still having fun while still issuing messages of cooperating with protocols for the long game. It’s awesome to see that even though these guys are younger than I am, I can look up to their example. Others should, too. I love the resiliency and fun they are having in this insane season.