Notre Dame Students Prioritize Sport Celebration Over COVID-19 Safety

On November 7, 2020, the Notre Dame football team upset the nation’s number one Clemson as thousands of fans celebrated by storming the field and breaking social distance regulations. 

When it comes to large schools in the United States, college football brings the whole community together. The Notre Dame Stadium sells out with over 80 000 seats on a typical gameday although Covid-19 restrictions have called for much less people. When the Clemson game ended and the Fighting Irish were victorious in double overtime, the fans stormed the field without hesitation, putting themselves and the players at risk.  

Notre Dame getting ready to take the field with the fans at an appropriate distance (Source: Matt Cashore-Pool)  

As described through the functionalist theory, society is an organized system held by a shared system of values. Society has shaped these Notre Dame fans to have a burning passion for their team to the point that celebration without hesitation did not seem like the wrong decision, despite the rapidly increasing Covid-19 cases. Even the players who know that getting the virus would lead to missing multiple games enjoyed the fans pulling this dangerous stunt. “When fans stormed the field, it was fun”, said starting Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book who is well aware of the punishment if tested positive. When a powerful team leader such as the starting quarterback is visibly enjoying something wrong, the rest of the team is more inclined to follow as it is set in football culture that the quarterback has a lot of power within a team and is looked up to. Robert J. Vallerand found that celebrating a team’s victory leads to great short term happiness, further proving the importance society has put on sports and community.  


Thousands of Notre Dame fans storming the field after the Clemson win (Source: Eric Hansen) 

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