Fantasy Camp Offers A Glimpse Into Life as A Football Star: Active Adults

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elder man who played football at villanova“It all falls back into place when you get out on the field,” says Jack Lammers of his recent experience on the gridiron at Notre Dame. Jack’s experience was not the result of successful recruiting efforts or a handsome scholarship. He was one of 50 participants in the 2005 Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp.

For the participants, all former athletes or lifelong fans, the fantasy camp offered a rare glimpse into the reality of life as a Notre Dame player. Camp included “two-a-days,” the twice daily practices and drills that are so familiar to the Notre Dame Varsity Team. After two days of practice, the fantasy team was ready for game day in Notre Dame Stadium.

Before running through the tunnel and out onto the turf, the players followed the pre-game routine of Notre Dame Athletes: a large breakfast, followed by Mass at the Grotto before suiting up in the Varsity locker room. The campers then played an hour long game of flag football in front of a crowd of family and friends.

Jack, who had not been on the football field since his days as the Quarterback for Villanova, proudly stated, “I wasn’t sore.” His skills as a player and a coach came back easily. Jack started his career as a high school football coach. He gave up the position to pursue a career with IBM because, he says, “We had our sixth child, and I knew I had to give up the toys and get a real job.” Most of his long career with IBM was spent in the sales and service department. He enjoyed his work and his co-workers immensely, but football remained a passion.

Despite his long hiatus, Jack quickly adjusted to the thrill of being back on the field and in the pocket. Much of the excitement was generated by the atmosphere of the school and the stadium. “Notre Dame is really a special place. It has such a long and respected football tradition,” notes Jack.

The thrill of experiencing one of the greatest football programs in the country firsthand could not have come at a better time. One of Jack’s friends from his coaching days invited him to attend the camp merely two weeks after his wife passed away. His initial response was a resounding no. Finally, with a lot of encouragement from his children, he decided to give the camp a shot. He now says, “I loved it. It was truly amazing.”

Jack was impressed by the management of the camp and the quality of the coaches, which helped to provide a distinctive experience to dedicated fans. “I grew up Catholic, so I’ve always been a fan, but some of these guys were really dyed-in-the-wool. A few had tattoos, and one had collected everything Notre Dame you can imagine-including a doorbell for his house,” Jack says. Jack’s doorbell may not yell “Go Irish!” but he nonetheless relished his time on the historic field at Notre Dame.

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