Unbalanced: Bad Santas

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

Overdosing on too many gooey Hallmark Christmas movies? If you believe this seasonal sugar rush needs a dash of Bad Santas to bring you down, our culture’s Grinches are happy to provide.

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Her songs, her way

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

Kate Borkowski says she’s been told “my speaking voice sounds like a kid.” When she actually was a kid, singing around the house, her parents would advise her: “Belt it out!” The singer-songwriter will have none of that.

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Unbalanced: Plastic garden

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

The gardener down the street has switched plants this year. Instead of wooden flowers stuck in the stone-covered border along the front of the house, she’s now displaying plastic ones.

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Unbalanced: The missing funeral

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

My unintentional participation in a stranger’s funeral procession was as close as I was going to get to a funeral cortege for my uncle. He’d always made it clear that after his death he wanted no visitation, no funeral, no graveside service, no nothing.

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ND Free Pass: A Notre Dame cheer

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

Seven months, 20 Notre Dame athletic events and 17 blogs later, I’ve limped to the finish line in my race to view all the Notre Dame varsity sports in a school year. We spectators don’t deserve monogrammed letter sweaters, but I’m still bummed that I never did catch a free T-shirt.

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ND Free Pass: Baseball

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

For several innings, it appeared that bat boy Zach might be the Irish MVP during the May 1 Notre Dame baseball game vs. Seton Hall. First, the crowd serenaded him for his 12th birthday, much to his head-ducking embarrassment. Then, with Seton Hall ahead 3-0, Zack left the dugout and easily caught a foul ball as it rolled off the overhead safety nets.

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ND Free Pass: Softball

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

As you walk along the winding sidewalk toward the beautiful Melissa Cook Stadium on the southeast corner of campus, it’s easy to spot the long-time fans of the Notre Dame softball team. They’re the ones carrying blankets.

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The screenwriters’ novel road

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

Ah, the Hollywood life of a screenwriter: making a pitch to Steven Spielberg, working with legendary animator Chuck Jones, selling a script for three-quarters of a million bucks. As James Jennewein ’77 will tell you, such red carpet moments are interspersed with real life.

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ND Free Pass: Tennis

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

Notre Dame tennis teams frequently lost games to the South Bend weather. But once the indoor Eck Tennis Pavilion was built, right next to the outdoor Courtney Tennis Center, neither rain nor snow could stop a match. Advantage, Notre Dame tennis.

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ND Free Pass: Lacrosse

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

The usher at the April 23 Notre Dame women’s lacrosse game halted my entry into Arlotta Stadium. “There’s free barbecue in that tent,” he said, pointing off to the side. “You should try it.” As anyone who attends ND sporting events knows, it’s not wise to argue with an usher.

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ND Free Pass: Blue-Gold Spring Football

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

The Notre Dame Blue-Gold Spring football game offers a wonderful spectatorpalooza. Free parking near the stadium. Tickets cheap enough that spectators probably can afford a snack at the concession stands. The best seats you can grab. The marching band playing ND football game favorites. The leprechaun and cheerleaders whipping up the crowd.

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ND Free Pass: Golf

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

If I’ve learned one thing in my spectator sampling of the less-heralded side of Notre Dame competitions, it’s not always to trust advance information posted online. Take golf, if you would, please — and please without telling me the details of your shot on the 14th hole.

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ND Free Pass: Women’s basketball

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

Yes, I was among the 1,000 or so hardy — or maybe foolhardy — fans who to attended the Feb. 1 ND vs. Syracuse women’s basketball game. The blizzard of 2011 was gearing up, and the icy wind and stinging snow pellets made even a short walk to the Joyce Center’s Purcell Pavilion a winter’s agony.

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ND Free Pass: Fencing

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

Irish fencers always duel their way to the top of the NCAA rankings. You will see a live-action game of strategic finesse, what has been called “physical chess,” as competitors chase and withdraw, lunge and run, stab and feint, and display intricate footwork and calculated swordplay.

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Much Ado about Shakespeare

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

It can be tough to grab a spot in a popular class. When Paul Rathburn and Katherine Pogue teach “Shakespeare in Performance” this summer, students soon will discover that it’s going to require skill and talent both to get in the class and to survive the course requirements. The end result, however, will be far more than intellectual growth and a grade.…

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ND Free Pass: Track & Field

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

As I continue to sample all the ND sports, I run into some fun surprises, like the Notre Dame Invitational track and field event. Loftus had the air of a three-ring circus, minus the animals and any semblance of central heating but complete with amazing variety acts.

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Little company, big movies

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

It’s not a business plan a banker would approve. “Essentially, right now as a company, the four of us are doing this for free,” says John Klein ’06 of the associates running Glass City Films.

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