Where We’re Going


Somewhat unbelievably, we find ourselves one week from real, live Notre Dame regular season football. This time of year usually brings with it a truly singular state of mind — fall Saturdays are unmatched in their ability to synthesize collective joy, bursts of gleeful schadenfreude, and stomach-curdling bouts of anxiety into one imperfect, madcap, downright enchanting emotional stew. It’s why we’ve been obsessed with this sport, and this team, for ages, why we pore over practice reports months in advance of any true action, why we drink in parking lots and gather around televisions with friends in the face of, at times, near-certain defeat — and why we created this website. This deeply flawed sport is frequently sublime. But the coming 2020 season feels like something different entirely.

This year, the emotional scale has tilted almost entirely towards stomach-curdling anxiety. We realize that this is not the case for large swaths of the country and fanbase, and certainly don’t claim to speak for anyone other than ourselves. But we’d be remiss if we weren’t honest and upfront about the serious reservations we harbor regarding the season. American leadership has, not by accident, done a piss-poor job reigning in a virus that has disproportionately affected people of color and the vulnerable among us. Sports are the reward of a functioning society, and many elected officials have shown little to no interest in meeting that standard. We’re frustrated, and we’re angry; we mourn the almost 200,000 Americans who have been taken from us, and we pray that the long-term effects on those who have recovered are not as serious as feared.

As football season approached, this left us thinking…where do we go from here? Does it make sense to personally invest in this game right now, to commit to analyzing and debating this “amateur” sport where players are only as safe as their own community dictates (not to mention their opponents’ communities), and with purposefully suppressed collective bargaining power to boot? Objectively, probably not — it’s all gross, whether the players want to play or not.

Bottom line, though, we love Notre Dame football deeply, to an almost inexplicable degree. And in equal measure we recognize that there is a chasm of importance between what happens on Saturdays and what’s happening to our fellow community members, friends, and family at the hands of the global health crisis, this country’s deeply ingrained racist policies, and those in power who care not to rid ourselves of these societal catastrophes. So, to begin reconciling that gap, we at NDOB are taking the small step of moving this season’s content behind a paywall (here’s the Patreon link!), donating (and matching!) all proceeds to organizations that are doing the work to fight against structural racism and to materially help community members in dire need of mutual aid and care. It is, quite literally, the least we can do.

Do we actually think the output generated for the sake of this blog is worth asking you to pony up for? No. We pay the domain fees, you click and read and go on with your day, fine by us. But These Uncertain Times call for something different, and like we said, every dollar raised will be directed to those in need and 100% matched by NDOB admin. For what it’s worth, two of the site’s top three most trafficked features ever are our posts on the Black Lives Matter movement and the university’s botched initial Covid response (number two all time is the very first NDNation roundup, because it slaps). We appreciate that our readership and the broader community is invested in social justice and holding Notre Dame accountable on providing a safer, more inclusive environment, and this will continue to inform the work as we move forward with this dumb little college football blog. Anyways! Let’s get to the details (and here’s that link to the Patreon again):

TIER 1 (BOOK CLUB): $2 per month

  • Access to all written blog content, per usual
  • Access to a new Discord discussion forum — it’s like NDNation, but with good company and a layout that won’t permanently damage your eyes

TIER 2 (STUDENT SECTION): $5 per month

  • All tier 1 benefits, plus…
  • Stickers!
  • Access to a shiny new podcast hosted by yours truly (and whoever we can persuade to join for guest appearances)
  • We’ll mock up a bad NDFB Photoshop (read: Powerpoint edit) of your choice. If you don’t choose a subject, well, we might just send you one anyway

TIER 3 (REESUS SAVES): $25 per month

  • All tier 1 and 2 benefits, plus…
  • T-shirt!! (after three months of patronage — Patreon’s rules — but maybe the single item we’re most excited about)
  • Commission content from NDOB — want us to cover a certain topic on the pod, or do a deep dive post on a hunch you have? We’re on it
  • Access to a monthly virtual tailgate — come shoot the shit with the NDOB crew! We love this corner of ND fandom and would be thrilled to connect beyond tweets and blogs

This campaign will run for four months, provided the season lasts that long (we’re not taking your money in the offseason, don’t worry). We’ll be ramping up content old and new as the season progresses and as we figure out how to best utilize the Patreon platform, and welcome any and all feedback from subscribers. The main goal here is, of course, to put money in the hands of organizations and individuals that need it, but we’re extremely excited to share some new features and contributors so that your investment is even more worth the while.

Oh, and here’s the shirt — you know you want it:

Donation schedule and recipient details are as follows:

September: Black Lives Matter – South Bend chapter

BLM-South Bend seeks social, economic, environmental, political, and legal justice for all people of the African Diaspora in Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan, the area known as the Michiana region. We believe that no one is free until Black people are free, because Black people have been personally and systematically deprived of power and it is our duty to reclaim it for ourselves.  In doing so, everyone is liberated from systems of oppressive domination.

October: St. Vincent de Paul Society – St. Joseph County

The St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Joseph County serves people living in poverty in Northern Indiana through programs intended to relieve emergencies, provide support and encourage self-sufficiency. The organization is also the recipient of relief funding due to the pandemic, and will use funds to provide rent and utility assistance to residents impacted by COVID-19.

November: Dismas House of Indiana

Dismas House is a not-for-profit organization that provides housing and post-release services to adult men and women recently released from incarceration. The South Bend Dismas House opened in 1986, and provides housing, meals, case management, tutoring, employment services, life skills workshops, counseling, mentoring and programs to help former offenders make successful transitions back into the community.

December: South Bend Center for the Homeless (funds to be directed to the Center via the 5th annual Rakes Report Christmas Giving fundraiser)

The Center for the Homeless is the South Bend area’s largest residential facility for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The Center opened in 1988 and has served more than 65,000 individuals in our community. Programming and resources are provided to help guests at the Center to break the cycle of homelessness.

To kick things off we’ve got a season preview of sorts, a post on a few under-the-radar storylines to keep an eye on, and the inaugural Notre Dame, Our Podder (hate that name as much as you do, but it is what it is) over at the Patreon. Thanks for joining us in this small gesture to help our neighbors in South Bend — go Irish, beat Blue Devils!

2 Replies to “Where We’re Going”

    1. great idea – unfortunately patreon locks us into the one shirt for now, but we’d like to roll out additional subscriber specials as the season plays out, and we’ll keep this exact thought top of mind


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