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  • Dylan Sinn | The Journal Gazette Fort Wayne native Drue Tranquill signs the Notre Dame jersey of Hunter, the 10-year-old boy who will be an honorary captain for the Irish at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday. 

Friday, December 28, 2018 1:00 am

Dylan's Dallas Diary

Hospital visit provides great distraction

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

DALLAS – Just 48 hours before No. 3 Notre Dame takes on No. 2 Clemson in the Cotton Bowl, the Irish took some time away from football and visited kids at the Children's Medical Center in Dallas.

The entire Irish team spent the afternoon sitting at tables with the children, playing card games like UNO and coloring in Notre Dame logos.

“Just to see a smile on their face, that means everything,” said quarterback Ian Book, who admitted to losing two games of UNO in a row. “Play cards, talk about football, talk about Christmas, whatever. ... They love football and we love football, so it's fun to just sit down and talk with them.”

One of the highlights of the event was when Brian Kelly announced that a 10-year-old boy named Hunter will be an honorary captain with the Irish on Saturday. Hunter already told Kelly the call he plans to make for the coin toss, but Kelly said it was “in confidence” so we'd have to wait for the game to find out.

Later, Hunter met the Notre Dame captains and was a guest on a hospital radio show with them. Fort Wayne native and captain Drue Tranquill wore his “lucky” beanie hat on the show but gave it to Hunter and encouraged him to wear it during the Cotton Bowl. 

The next two days will be about nothing but football, but for a few hours Thursday afternoon, the game came second.

Dylan Sinn covers Notre Dame football for The Journal Gazette. He may be reached by phone at 461-8223, via email at dsinn@jg.net or follow him on Twitter @DylanSinn.