Stay Lucky: A Look at ND Fan Superstitions


Notre Dame students are seen cheering during the Michigan game earlier this season.

By Josh Stowe '01
Notre Dame Alumni Association

Green underwear. Shots of Jameson. Untrimmed beards. Oh, and don’t forget the lucky baby onesie.

Last week, the crew here at the Alumni Association asked you to share your Notre Dame football superstitions with us. And judging by the response we got, you were not the least bit shy about doing so. We’d like to thank you by sharing some of the more interesting rituals.

A Hairy Situation

Let’s start with hair, where George Byam speaks for many male Notre Dame fans: “BEARD. It grows until they beat ’Bama!” Other gents joined him in shunning their razors this season, and several indicated they’d also sworn off haircuts since the Irish kicked off against Navy in Dublin.

“I have not shaved or trimmed my chin hair since before the season started,” says Matthew Adam Doan “It is five inches long so far.”

Clothes Make the Fan

While embracing stubble and long locks are popular choices, clothing plays a big part in Notre Dame fan rituals as well. For instance, many fans haven’t washed their lucky outfits this season. But regardless of laundry habits, they’re particular about what they — and their children — wear to game watches. Just ask Matt and Desirée Dewey.

“Our son was born July 30, so he started out in a very tiny onesie that no longer fits him,” Matt says. “To get around this, we have a new ND outfit for him and we take the tiny onesie and stuff it inside the new one.”
April Flores has her daughter similarly attired, although she takes more of a “tough love” approach to dressing her.

“I had a baby the week before the season started. She's never seen an Irish loss in her lifetime! She wears the same Notre Dame onesie that we brought her home from the hospital in for every game. I tried to change it up for the Pitt game and she was back in the lucky onesie for the second half,” she says. “If she outgrows it before January 7 she's going to have to suck it up and wear a tight onesie!”

Lawrence Williamson has several good-luck rituals, but he swears the “real magic” comes from his daughter’s Irish cheerleader gear.

“Twice when I had to work for games my wife neglected to dress her properly: BYU and Pitt,” he says. “I called at half for BYU and the fourth quarter for Pitt and reminded her to get her act together.”

Rachel Wiltshire, meanwhile, has her own lucky article of clothing: “I have to wear my lucky green underwear on gamedays.”

And for Joseph Kovatch, the key is in how to prepare his clothes.

“I am currently deployed with the U.S. Army and have my ND t-shirt and shorts that I have to wear nightly. I have to fold them a certain way and put them together where you can see the logos, and I put on top of my wall locker instead of in the drawer,” he says. “That is because our Irish are on top where they belong.”

Eat, Drink, Love

Some of the most interesting superstitions involve food and drink. For instance, Chris Wilkinson says his mom and sister eat an M&M for each point the Irish score. The Deweys (the same couple who swear by their son’s lucky onesie) imbibe Diet Orange Sunkist during each game. Rob Carbone enjoys soda and whiskey as part of his routine.  

“Here's the Saturday morning drill,” he says. “French toast in the a.m., an ‘Our Father’ followed by a shot of Jameson Irish whiskey, a stuffed leprechaun facing the TV, unlimited Coca-Cola, one playing of the Celtic war chant followed by the Victory March, and a Hail Mary after the game. Pretty sick but it's worked 12 times this year … not stopping now!

And while food and drink make for some interesting fan superstitions, it turns that not even love is immune when Notre Dame football is on the line. Just ask Jennifer Walker.

“My boyfriend and I started dating in July,” she says. “Although he didn't attend Notre Dame, he's always been a big fan. We decided about halfway through the season that we were a good luck charm since the football team hadn’t lost since we started dating. We promised that we would stay together for the good of the team no matter what. Notre Dame still hasn’t lost and we are doing great!"