After losing his grandmother and girlfriend within hours of each other last week, Irish linebacker Manti Te’o could have left Notre Dame and his teammates to be with his family in Hawaii. Instead, he stayed in South Bend and led his team to a decisive victory at Michigan State on Saturday. This Saturday, under the Notre Dame Stadium lights, tens of thousands of Fighting Irish fans will return the favor and display their support for Te’o during his time of loss by donning leis at the football team’s night game against Michigan. The “Wear a Lei for Manti” campaign was conceived at a Monday night meeting of the Leprechaun Legion when the student spirit group discussed the possibility of giving out leis to students at the pep rally before the Michigan game, senior and Legion football leader Rosemary Kelly said. “The idea was suggested at the Legion meeting in recognition of Manti’s allegiance to Notre Dame, his sacrifice to stay an extra year and his decision to play in the Michigan State game under personally difficult circumstances,” she said. “As students, we want to do our part and let him know that we value his contributions and support him as a man of Notre Dame, on and off the field.” Coincidentally, a similar idea was posted by someone unrelated to the Legion on the social media pages of The New ND Nation (TNNDN), a Notre Dame fan group committed to positive attitudes toward the school, within hours of the Legion’s meeting, Kelly said. Lynne Gilbert, a TNNDN volunteer who manages the group’s Twitter account, said the group helped publicize the idea via Twitter and Facebook on Monday. By Tuesday morning, a local South Bend radio station contacted Gilbert to discuss the lei campaign. “[The idea for the campaign] just blew up on Monday after we asked our Twitter followers what they thought of it,” she said. “We started a Facebook event page, ‘Wear a Lei for Manti,’ that now has 4,000 members, so it’s just been growing and growing.” The social media-driven publicity helped the Legion find a way to distribute leis to students without violating NCAA compliance rules about paying for promotional items in Te’o’s name, Kelly said. “We had to figure out how to pull it off without spending any money,” Kelly said. “Fortunately, a flurry of social media in the last few days has garnered support for the movement, and less than 24 hours after the idea surfaced, we had a donation for the pep rally, and we now have an opportunity to make the idea a reality.” Kelly said United Beverage Company of South Bend volunteered to donate 7,500 leis to the Legion to be distributed at Friday’s pep rally. At least 25,000 leis will be distributed Saturday from various sources, Gilbert said. Budweiser and WSBT have partnered to donate 10,000 leis for students on gameday, Brothers Bar and Grill will contribute 1,000 leis to the campaign and TNNDN purchased 500 leis with out-of-pocket money and donations received through its website. Gilbert said TNNDN’s goal in supporting the lei campaign was rooted in the group’s love for Notre Dame. “We really just want to give back to Manti and the whole team. Look what he’s done through adversity … just going out there and playing with his heart and putting it all on the field,” she said. “It’s a different atmosphere and the team is so unified, so anything we can do to give back to them, we want to do.” As a member of Notre Dame’s student community, Kelly said the movement holds even greater meaning. “Hopefully students will take a moment to think about what the lei means as they put it on. It is a sign of affection for Manti and a symbol of our support for him,” she said. “It is a nod toward what we, as a community, hold to be important in our representative student-athletes, and after this week, I think each student on campus will have a new awareness of just how tight-knit the Notre Dame community is and will realize that community does not end at campus boundaries.” For more information, visit TNNDN’s website, www.thenewndnation.com, and the Facebook pages of TNNDN and the Leprechaun Legion.
ZAK Crawley made the most of his chance – when it finally came – scoring a half-century on the final afternoon of a second Test severely affected by bad weather throughout.With only 91.2 overs bowled up to the final resumption and the draw a fait accompli, the evening session was consigned to batting and bowling practice. But it was by no means wasted on the players or the viewing public who had been starved of action for frustrating stretches of the match in Southampton.The opportunity was not lost on Crawley, who came into the side for Ben Stokes and returned to the ground where he made a career-high 76 in the first installment of England’s series against West Indies in early July.Crawley’s frustration that he couldn’t go on further after reaching his third Test fifty was palpable when he swung his bat furiously through the air while trudging off, having fallen lbw to Mohammad Abbas for 53. Up to that point Crawley, who is just 22 years old and seven Tests into his career, had acquitted himself well.Play recommenced at 3.20pm local time for the first time since all but the first hour of the fourth day was lost to rain and after a severe thunderstorm lashed the Ageas Bowl in the early hours of the fifth day, requiring lengthy mopping up and drying efforts.It was a cruel irony that when play resumed it was in blazing sunshine and it stayed that way until stumps, when England declared their first innings on 110 for 4 and the sides shook hands on a draw shortly after 6pm. That ended a run of six consecutive Test wins in charge for Joe Root, but ensured England go into the third and final Test starting at the same venue on Friday with a 1-0 series lead.The sun also changed the complexion of the match, albeit too late to have any effect on the result.The movement and bounce that had so troubled England on the fourth morning, when they lost opener Rory Burns for a four-ball duck, were far more tame on the final afternoon and Crawley and Dom Sibley bedded in for a 91-run second-wicket stand.Abbas, largely unplayable during his opening spell on the fourth day, dropped a couple short in his second over and was duly punished by Crawley, who pulled nonchalantly to the boundary at backward square leg and crunched another through cover point.Crawley ended up with seven fours, including one through cow corner off a Yasir Shah long hop to bring up his half-century.Crawley had been keen to face Yasir, having travelled to India a couple of years ago to develop his batting against spin. But Yasir would have had him stumped in his third over had it not been for a fumble by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, who has been otherwise tidy behind the stumps. Crawley skipped down the wicket to Yasir, effectivley yorking himself, but Rizwan failed to grab the ball as it skidded through.It was Abbas, who ultimately did for Crawley, starting a new spell and immediately pinning him back with a length ball on middle stump which moved away off the seam, beating the bat and striking the back pad. Crawley reviewed, probably in the hope that it had hit him too high, but he was confirmed out on umpire’s call and sent on his way.Sibley, too, played well for his 32 but, slightly worryingly for him, he was caught behind down the leg side in Abbas’ next over, a style of dismissal which has become familiar.Yasir was amongst the wickets when he had Ollie Pope out cheaply lbw, and Root pulled the pin after one ball from his counterpart Azhar Ali, as the teams reached the final hour and shook hands on a draw.Rizwan was named Player of the Match after top-scoring in Pakistan’s innings with 72.While the match ended brightly enough in terms of play resuming in glorious conditions and Crawley taking another step in his development, the positives were overshadowed by debate over the lack of action due to the weather and questions over how the game can evolve to avoid such frustration.(ESPN Cricinfo)