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Friday, March 1, 2024
The Observer

Save the marshmallow. Save the world.

Win or lose, no matter the score, come halftime of any Fighting Irish home game, a different war is waged in the student section of Notre Dame Stadium. As NBC's camera crews cut away to the studio and provide detailed analysis of Notre Dame football at halftime, the senior portion of the Notre Dame student section turns into a maelstrom of marshmallows, as seniors engage in so-called "marshmallow fights."

Or they used to, anyway, before the so-called "Marshmallow curtain" descended, suffocating the tradition and sucking the fun out of home games. In recent years stadium security has cracked down on students concealing the bite-sized treats on their persons, resulting in ejection from the stadium and the confiscation of the offending student's ticket booklet, denying them admission to all subsequent home games.

What's all the trouble over the delectable dollops of sugary goodness, you ask?

Well, the seemingly innocent shenanigans took a dark turn in recent years when security officials found foreign substances embedded within the mallows - items such as pennies and pebbles, designed for harm rather than for humor. These indiscretions caused the marshmallow fights to turn malicious, creating the current situation, in which possession of marshmallows is an offense resulting in the same punishment one would imagine for having a concealed firearm or other sort of weapon while trying to enter Notre Dame Stadium.

Another added impetus for the marshmallow lockdown was a series of complaints from NBC officials to stadium security - they claimed that the offending confectionary projectiles were striking camera equipment. Well, perhaps the malicious pranksters were attempting to hit the despised "TV timeout" official, who sits on the field with his bright orange gloves and makes sure NBC milks every penny out of its airtime commercial breaks.

Maybe they were thinking that, should they manage to knock the TV timeout guy of the game (just as Irish safety Tom Zbikowski knocked UCLA quarterback Ben Olsen out of commission in ND's lone win this year), perhaps we could have a game which, despite technically being just one hour of game time, regularly stretches into over four hours of real time.

That's four hours of standing, yes "shoulder to shoulder" as the student shirt reads, but more accurately: crammed in like crayons in an all-green Crayola box, swaying and teetering as the intoxicated morons next to you threaten to pass out on you and almost passing out yourself after four hours of watching football.

The saddest part of this whole sordid affair is that now, more than ever, Notre Dame seniors need marshmallow fights to put the fun back in Notre Dame football. With an abysmal 1-6 start, an anemic offense and perhaps worse, increasing apathy among the student section, seniors need a collective pick-me-up during home games.

For most of us (barring, of course, Architecture majors who retain a coveted fifth year of eligibility to watch home games) this is the last year to watch Notre Dame home games from the cozy confines of the student section. And it hasn't been a pleasant last hurrah.

As the losses mount, we need something to reinvigorate the student section and to restore a sense of fun to our home games. We need to unleash some halftime havoc on friends and foes alike. There's something cathartic about pasting a pal in the pate with a perfectly placed puff, even if the Irish are getting creamed on the field. Let the healing begin, or we'll all spend our time in the student section drunk, depressed and dour.

Of course, this is not to say we should be tossing bad mallow bombs out there. As seniors in our fourth year of college, we should know better than to try and put junk inside of our marshmallows. That's just plain mean-spirited.

Now more than ever, we need the marshmallow fights. Lift the curtain, stadium security.