October 25, 2012 // Notre Dame Traditions

Irish Traditions: Notre Dame Player Walk

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te’o walks into Notre Dame Stadium before the game against the BYU Cougars. (Photo: Matt Cashore / US PRESSWIRE)

One of the most anticipated events on Notre Dame’s campus on a football weekend is the walk the players take on Saturday morning, following Mass, to the stadium.

The original football walk consisted of the Notre Dame football team stoically walking out of the Basilica after Mass, and making their way through “God Quad”, moving onward from there through campus to the stadium. The fans line up in masses to high five, cheer, and wish the players well on their journey towards Notre Dame Stadium. For people who have never been to Notre Dame for a football game, this is an absolute must-see event. (Below is a picture of the band making the same walk to the stadium.)

Beginning with the 2011 football season, the “Player Walk” had its route altered just a bit at the request of Brian Kelly. The new journey to the stadium runs the following course: Following Mass at the Basilica, the players will exit through the God-Country-Notre Dame doors and then the team will walk back to the buses. They will board the buses and turn left on Holy Cross Drive, towards St. Mary’s Lake and the Grotto, and follow Holy Cross Drive all the way to the parking lot south of Notre Dame Stadium. They will then drive the buses THROUGH the South parking lot so that the tailgaters get a chance to experience the football team and then will continue on to “The Gug” where they will finish game day preparations.

After the pre-game rituals are completed, the players will walk from the Gug, past the Jordan Hall of Science, and over to the Hesburgh library, which is where the official walk to the stadium will start. For a 3:30pm game time, this will happen about 1:15pm. The team will walk over to the statue of Father Hesburgh and Father Joyce in front of the library, where they will turn and make the walk to the stadium, next to the reflecting pool which reflects the mosaic of “Touchdown Jesus.” The team will then enter the stadium through the Knute Rockne gate on the North end of the stadium as they head to the locker room to get ready for their opponent.

The Player Walk is a great opportunity for the Irish faithful to have a chance to interact with the players, and wish them good luck before they enter into battle on the gridiron. The iconic Touchdown Jesus provides the perfect backdrop for your photos of the team headed as they get ready to play. If you have never experienced the new Player Walk, I have no doubt that you will be very happy with the new version of the tradition!

Do you want to actually SEE the walk? Well, you’re in luck … it’s on YouTube! Here you go:

In my next installment, I will give some background on the “Dillon Hall Pep Rally.”

Cheers!

A big thank you goes out to Tyler Moorehead for his editing help & perspective on this story. Tyler is a Senior English major at Notre Dame (& writes for CollegeSpun.com). You can catch Tyler on Twitter at — @Tmoorehead627, and his latest College Spun pieces here.

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