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Tribune staff writer Avani Patel and staff photographer John Lee covered Notre Dame's football season. Lee took these photos with a $15 plastic Holga camera to capture the "surreal" experience of game day in South Bend. Patel has covered professional football for the Chattanooga Times in Tennessee.
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The flames dance steadily atop candles in the darkened alcove, their silent swaying reflecting the depth of devotion shared by the dozens of people gathered there.
It is game day at Notre Dame, the overcast gray of the November sky typical of a late autumn afternoon in South Bend. Kickoff for the final home game of the 2000 season, a grudge match against Boston College, is still two hours away.
Milling about the campus, away from the candlelit scene of quiet meditation, students and alumni engage in the more familiar college game-day rituals_barbecuing, tailgating, playing touch football in the parking lots. Tents displaying hats, sweaters, polo shirts_even baby rattles_emblazoned with the familiar N interlocked with D offer to lighten the wallets of visitors. Food stands set up by dorms and clubs sell soda, hot dogs and Polish sausages, and vendors around the stadium hawk everything from programs to hot pretzels.
For those lucky enough to get onto the field before game time marvel at the glory of setting foot on the storied turf of Notre Dame Stadium. Kids who are preparing to attend their first football game here can hardly stand the excitement, asking their parents what they will witness inside. …