Apr 15, 2013, 11:46 PM EDT
Hello again, lacrosse fans, Notre Dame fans, and awesome blog fans. In this week’s adventure I take you inside yet another Notre Dame tradition. While the trip only takes place once every two years, it may be the most memorable team experience in my college career.
The journey is the eight-hour bus trip to Penn State University. While this may instantly send shudders down some of your spines, to me it is a great chance to basically do what I do everyday in a bus. There is no better way to pass the time than hanging out with the team, and of course great movies help the process. We were set to leave after practice at about 6 o’clock the next day.
When we loaded the bus, we knew we had a solid day of traveling as we were going to head about six hours before calling it a day. As soon as the bus began to roll, a movie chant was started and the freshmen provided their first offering to the coaches. Mighty Ducks box set. It was a glorious pick, and was also instantly shot down, despite a “ducks fly together” cheer echoing throughout the bus. The movie choices flowed nicely from there, starting with Green Zone, a classic shoot ’em up. Then transitioning to a change up with Pitch Perfect, not really sure how this one made it through the judges, but was definitely a fan favorite. Consequentially, Fat Amy was continuously quoted for the remainder of the trip. The night wrapped up with Old School that took us all the way to our destination. We all jumped off the bus, except for the freshmen that did a quick clean job, and got into bed.
Tradition 2: Freshmen bus cleaning. When we travel in a bus, we travel in style. Only the classiest snacks and beverages make the cut or the trip, and incidentally the remains sometime make their way to the floor. This gets worse as the trip goes on, and thus another Irish tradition began.
Tradition 3: The freshmen that wins Rookie Karaoke (more on this later, don’t worry) does not have to clean the bus when the trip has concluded. A prize well-worth its weight in issued gear.
The next morning, we ate a quick breakfast then continued our journey onto Penn State. After checking into the hotel and unpacking, we all gathered in the hotel restaurant and watched a bit of the Loyola-Maryland game. Ex-Terrapin David Miller was almost asked to leave after cheering so loudly for his #boyz. The day concluded with a walkthrough at Penn State’s indoor field, where the game was going to be played, followed by a delicious dinner/film session.
We woke up the next morning eager to take on our opponent, and it showed on the field. It was probably one of the most exciting, fan-friendly, and emotional games I have ever been a part of. Penn State played an awesome game, but we were able to sneak out of not-so Happy Valley with a win in overtime thanks to Matt “Mini Mr. Sudden Victory” Kavanagh. Check out the highlights of the game here.
After the victory, we took a quick shower, met with the parents and jumped back on the bus. Now the real adventure begins. After a couple movies including Role Models and James Bond: Die Another Day, it was time for the moment you have all been waiting for, ROOKIE KARAOKE!
Tradition 4: ROOKIE KARAOKE!
One of the longest lasting traditions in Notre Dame lacrosse history also rivals national championship runs in terms of entertainment. You cannot find a #NDlax fan that has not seen a rookie embarrassing himself in front of the entire team. To set the scene, rookies are chosen by the crowd to stand in the front of the bus, wearing noise canceling headphones and hater-blockers (sunglasses). They must then sing a song of their choosing a cappella less then three feet from the entire coaching staff. The experience can be extremely awkward, but is always grossly entertaining. Below are this year’s songbirds, ranked in order from worst to best as decided by senior middy Pat “Big Daddy Cotts” Cotter and senior LSM (longstick middie) Tyler “The Philly Bounce Shot” Andersen.
Matt Kavanagh (1.5)
How Bizarre – OMC
KavLax did not continue his clutch performance from the day before. After yelling into the microphone for about a minute he was booed off stage.
David Miller (4)
Can’t Get Enough of Your Love – Barry White
Although not a freshmen, he is still a rookie. No rookie is exempt from this challenge. Milhouse’s performance was just ehh. I guess the karaoke in Maryland is not up to Notre Dame’s O’Rourkes level.
Jack Sheridan (4.5 + 1 point for being from Philly)
You’re Beautiful – James Blunt
Not beautiful at all. Judges rewarded Sher for his effort and attempts at high notes.
Eddie Lubowicki (5)
Love on Top – Beyonce
After a painfully awkward situation of “it’s loading….”, “still loading…”, “…I don’t know what to do guys”, Lubz began to sing. He was really pouring his heart out until “…. it’s not loading”. You just can’t recover from something like that. To help the situation the team forced him to sing the entire song, despite a Gerry Byrne “please stop” plea.
Adam Goins (5*)
*later awarded 0 points, and may God have mercy on his soul.
Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver
Didn’t expect this song from an artist with the name of G-Baby. The bus was rocking…with boos. The entire bus began singing along in an attempt to drown out his voice. It didn’t work, and he thought we were liking it. Terrible situation.
Matt Landis (7)
DJ Cotton Ball
Barbie Girl – Aqua
Great song choice. DJ Cotton Ball put on a great version of the song and surprised everyone by nailing both Ken and Barby’s voice.
Cole Rccardi (8)
Stacy’s Mom – Fountains of Wayne
Coal really gave this song his full effort. He had the entire bus singing along. Except the team made a quick lyric change from Stacy to Cole. Nonetheless, a great performance.
Andrew Larrabee (8.5)
Center Field – John Fogerty
The bar was set high when Larry walked up to the front of the bus wearing John Kemp’s jersey that was worn earlier that day. Good thing John never sweats under pressure, even overtime. Another great lyric change resulted in an outstanding performance. “Put me in coach…I can be starting goalie.”
Thomas Stephan (8.5)
Before He Cheats – Carrie Underwood
Steph-Dawg simply put on a solid performance. His song choice was perfect and his stage presence was unreal. At one point he whipped the glasses off his face and stared down the make believe cheating boyfriend in front of him.
Bobby Gray (9)
Bobby Bottle Service
Fergalicious – Fergy
Bobby Bottle Service really showed his talent as a rapper. Nailing every hip thrust and lyric on his way to a solid 9 from the judges. Simply put the performance was…delicious.
Kyle Trolley (9)
DJ Maple Syrup
Let’s Get it On – Marvin Gaye
There might not be anything funnier than Marvin Gaye being sung to your head lacrosse coach in a Canadian accent. Few have been able to enjoy this opportunity, but believe me your abs will be sore from laughing.
Edwin Glazener (9.5)
Gangnam Style – PSY
You could tell that DJ Glaze really put the effort in before the trip. I really feel he correctly pronounced and understood every lyric in the song. As he finished panting for air, the bus provided a standing applause. Eddy walked down the aisle with a huge smile on his face, stepping over the trash he would not be picking up.
The trip concluded with guest performance from:
Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield
A Whole New World – Aladdin
Everything – Michael Buble
Nick provided the team with a few jokes from his hilarious one-liner comedy routine.
After all the fun and games a chant started in the back of the bus. Growing louder and louder was a chant that started the trip, “ducks fly together.” With much persistence, the movie was finally passed and eventually put on.
Although the Penn State trip is not always easy or comfortable, especially with a mic in your hand in the front of the bus, it is tradition. I am forever grateful to the staff and alumni who make experiences like this possible for my teammates and I. We were fortunate to escape from a great team with a great win. I am not sure I want to be on that trip back after a loss. This was not an option for our team. I’m not saying Rookie Karaoke won the game, but it definitely helped.
Stay tuned for the next blog…
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