Feb 10, 2014, 2:18 PM EDT
Every June, Notre Dame Football hosts a Fantasy Camp. Campers attend meetings and practices put on by the current football coaching staff and the week culminates with a full pads flag football game in Notre Dame Stadium. This week-long experience not only transforms passionate Irish fans into Notre Dame student-athletes, but it also provides the opportunity for them to spend time on campus enjoying fellowship with each other, football Monogram winners, as well as the coaching staff.
Additionally, proceeds from the camp benefit the Monogram Club, which positively and directly impacts members of the Club as well as current student-athletes. All participants leave with a new respect for what it takes to be a part of an athletic team at Notre Dame. Past campers have remarked that it makes them feel more connected to the Fighting Irish and enhances their experience watching games. Fantasy practices and the game are open to family and friends, so bringing your own cheering section is encouraged.
The camp can hold up to 50 participants, and is a mix of ND alumni and life-long ND supporters. However, to the football department, they all become football alumni after camp. NDFB then hosts events for this group throughout the year. There is no age maximum or ability requirement, and some campers return for their “sophomore,” “junior,” and “senior” years. In 2013, the age range was 25 to 73. Campers also come from everywhere: Hawaii to Florida, and even Canada.
If this group was not unique enough already, campers’ occupations range from race car driver to lawyer, and chef to nurse. Pilots, mechanics, police officers, almost every industry has been represented at one point or another. After going through the experience together, many forge lifelong friendships, attend football games together, and if they live close enough, spend time to toss a ball around now and again.
Camp sometimes plays out like a “Biggest Loser” competition as participants use the motivation to get in shape. In 2012, three campers lost a total of 150 pounds. For 2014, a “freshman” has reported he is back to the weight he was when he finished his Navy service in 1974. He is aiming to be the same weight in June as his “sophomore” son, who will attend camp with him.
The event is run by Associate Athletic Director for Football Operations, Chad Klunder, and Fantasy Camp Coordinator, Lacey Love (ND MBA ’11). In existence for over 10 years, the list of football alumni that volunteer their time to support the Monogram Club covers all decades and everyone from Heisman winners to walk-ons. Notre Dame Fantasy Camp was also just featured in an adult sports camps article in the January Alaska Airlines Magazine, along with the Yankees and Wayne Gretzky. Not bad company. This great group of men will get together June 3-7, 2014 for the experience of a lifetime.
Visit the website to learn more: www.NDFantasyCamp.com