Sept. 4, 2003

by Chris Chamberland

It’s the dream of every kid who ever pretended to be Joe Montana or Paul Hornung in his backyard; to run onto the field at Notre Dame stadium in front of 80,000 screaming fans with the Band of the Fighting Irish playing the Victory March. For freshman defensive lineman Victor Abiamiri that dream becomes a reality on Saturday.

“I’m most anxious, just like everyone says, to run through that tunnel. I’ve actually never been to a game out here, so I’ll experience my first game. That’s exiting.”

Abiamiri, from Randallstown, Md., was a first-team USA Today prep All-American, but now he gets a chance to test his abilities on a bigger and faster stage than ever before.

“The toughest part of the adjustment [from high school to college football] is the intensity of it all. In high school, you were used to being the best player on the field, then you come here and you have to work your way up. It’s tough.”

After several long weeks, starting with two-a-day practices in the heat of August, Abiamiri and all of his Irish teammates are anxious to get their first game started, and have set some high standards for themselves.

“This season, I expect the team to live up to its potential and be the best it can be. That means winning a national championship, and I think that we can do it. Myself, I’m just trying to play as hard as I can every time out there, and all I can ask for is to be better every day.”

In addition to some lofty goals, Abiamiri has a few more modest hopes in his first game.

“When I’m in the tunnel, I’ll have all kinds of emotions running through me, but mostly I’m just going to be thinking, ‘Don’t mess up.'”