Every year, students at the University of Notre Dame eagerly look forward to the Fighting Irish football season. Game days provide a daylong escape from the stress and monotony of college classes. It’s not just the games that everyone looks forward to — they also come with festive tailgates and parties. Game days are, to many people, the best part of the Notre Dame experience.
But one gloomy April day, everything changed. The Fighting Irish football team released their schedule for the 2022 season. At first glance, everything looked fine. There was a great combination of home and away games; there were plenty of back-to-back games to give students something to look forward to during the scourge of midterms; and the USC game was in Southern California over Thanksgiving break, which allowed students to escape the approaching South Bend winter and flee to the warmth of Los Angeles.
But then, students began to notice that something was off. Notre Dame was scheduled to play Stanford on Oct. 15, followed by UNLV on Oct. 22. After consulting the academic calendar, the ugly truth was revealed: There were home games on both ends of fall break.
Students began to call this phenomenon “The Game Sandwich.” What should have been a relaxing break in the middle of October turned into a short week sandwiched between football games.
“When I saw the schedule, I was devastated,” said one Notre Dame first-year student. “Everyone says that fall break is the highlight of freshman year, and now I’m not getting that crucial experience.”
All across campus, students were asking each other what would happen over that week. Would they go to one game and not the other? Would they skip both games so that they could go home or take a longer trip for fall break? Would they sacrifice their entire break so they could stay on campus and watch football? Would the team even show up?
Ultimately, it was every man for himself. Everyone had to decide for themselves whether they would sacrifice their break to watch football.
A Notre Dame senior who has chosen to remain anonymous said, “As much as I love football, I have to skip the Stanford game. I have an obligation that is much more important — the Harry Styles concert in Chicago. I wouldn’t miss that for the world.”
A source close to the football team, who, for privacy reasons, will be referred to as Frarcus Meeman, said, “Anyone who skips one of the games is clearly not a die-hard fan and does not deserve to go to this school. Everyone should be at both of these games. No excuses.”
Junior student John Doe claimed, “I didn’t even know there were games over break. I’m going on vacation.”
Eventually, the day of the Stanford game arrived. While some students had already traveled home, others were eager for some football.
One student who stayed for the game claimed that it was “extraordinary.” She said that “the weather was perfect” (it was 30 degrees), “the tailgates were fantastic” (Stadium Lot was a desolate wasteland) and “the team played great” (they lost). She said that she “is so happy [she] stayed for this game instead of going home to Hawaii for fall break.” At least she’s staying positive.
Next up was the UNLV game. The warm weather was a nice surprise and the football team played well, ending the game with a much-needed win. Unfortunately, though, as the players looked up at the stands during the Irish alma mater at the end of the game, they saw a sea of … emptiness. It seemed that the Stanford game may have convinced some people that going to a game over break was not worth it.
All in all, the 2022 football schedule demonstrated that combining two football games with fall break is not a good idea, but rather, a dreadful sandwich.