Not Here to Play School

Author: Ariel Navotas

*This is just a fun title, I’m 100% here to play school 


Two of my biggest (non-academic, non-RA) commitments this semester have been Notre Dame Women’s Boxing and Welsh Family Hall Flag Football.

Flag football is something that I’ve done all four years here at Notre Dame, and something that is a huge part of my Notre Dame experience. The seniors on this particular team have been to the championship stadium game all four years, only losing in a disappointing showdown our sophomore year to Howard, who we defeated in the stadium the year afterwards.

We’ve grown close through our shared athletic experiences before coming to college, through living in community together, and through playing football together. Some of my best friends are the girls that I also get to call my dorm mates and teammates. I’ve loved being able to continue to play sports with people that I care about in college, something that was an integral part of my high school experience.

Boxing, on the other hand, is something that I picked up for the first time this year, but never would have imagined being involved in. I’ve played plenty of light contact sports before but have intentionally never participated in one that involved hitting other human beings. However, I have a lot of friends that are involved in it, and I miss being a part of an intense sport/training process like I was able to do before coming to college, so I decided to do it my senior year.

It was very much one of those “I have one more year here so why not?!” type of decisions. I am, however, very glad that I committed myself to it.

One piece of contradictory, but great, advice that I was given as a freshmen is to continue to do things that I love while trying new things and exploring outside of my comfort zone. That was something that I took into account freshman year, and something that I am glad I was able to do again, even in my senior year. Through boxing I met girls that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and was given the opportunity to form relationships, push myself mentally and physically, and fight in the ring to fundraise for schools in East Africa supported by Holy Cross Missions.

Notre Dame has given me so many opportunities to try new things, meet new people, and grow outside of the classroom and I’m very grateful for such a welcoming and encouraging environment to do it in.