Academy students return home with a firsthand understanding of ‘Fighting Irish Spirit’

Academy+students+return+home+with+a+firsthand+understanding+of+%27Fighting+Irish+Spirit%27

Julian H. Gonzalez/Detroit Free Press/MCT

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, left. intercepts a pass intended for Michigan’s Jeremy Gallon in a heroic game effort supported by ND students.

Gini Barreda, Section Editor

The sounds coming from the stadium could be heard for miles around on Saturday evening, September 22. A sea of green and blue surrounded the field with football players waiting for game time.  The combined energy of fans and players resounded in  “organized chaos” in the Notre Dame gridiron game versus their biggest rival Big Blue, the University of Michigan.

While many Academy girls might have been watching the game here at home in Tampa Bay, juniors Sarah Elliott and Gini Barreda had the opportunity  of roaring and cheering alongside the electrified fans on that memorable Saturday night.

The Notre Dame  marching band was the first to make their appearance on the gigantic field. Not one empty  seat could  be seen as the crowd sang along to the school fight song, showing off their Irish pride.

As both teams players walked on to the field, it was clear to see that the hometown fans outnumbered the fans from Ann Arbor.  Notre Dame was the first to score and maintained their lead throughout all four quarters,  causing the fans in blue and gold to go wild. They cheered, sang, and waved their hands to support the team to finish the game with Notre Dame at 13 and Michigan University at 6. The home teams’ students, faculty, parents and fans celebrated the much-needed victory.

No star shined brighter than Hawaiian  Notre Dame football player Manti  Te’o whose grandmother had died of cancer and his girlfriend had died from leukemia within two weeks of each other.  In true ND support, students wore and distributed leis in honor of Manti’s loss of loved ones near and dear to him.

In spite of his grief,  Te’o  still chose to play and ended up showing what this young man is made of,  on and off the field.  Te’o intercepted a Michigan pass and tackled 12 times, pointing up to the sky in honor of his two loved ones. His performance already has sportscasters predicting him to be a candidate for the Heisman.

“Football allowed me to be in a little realm, a little world where I know I can honor them by the way I play,” Te’o said in an interview with LA Times reporter Mike Hiserman. 

Academy students Sarah Elliott and Gini Barreda returned home with a firsthand understanding of “Fighting Irish Spirit”  by cheering on a great  team led by one of their own who played with love in his heart.