SOUTH BEND – Having set a time and a place last week to sit and talk and tell her story at a popular coffee spot, even though she prefers conversation to a cup of cappuccino, Brooke VanDyck arrived early.
Like, really early. For the record, it was only about five minutes before the designated time. But really, it was about 365 days too soon.
VanDyck shouldn’t have been there along Eddy Street Commons, not in that place at that time of day and at that time of the year decked out in university-issued UnderArmour gear and carrying an UnderArmour backpack. She should have been back at her south-side home, resting up during a week away from workouts on one of the most successful prep soccer programs in the state. Maybe even the country.
Had it not been for a throw-away comment VanDyck made months ago, she might well have been doing all that. Preparing to win a third-straight state championship. Preparing for her senior year and all that comes with it over at Penn High School. But when her comment turned into reality, VanDyck’s world forever changed.
That’s why she’s sitting here on this day after the Fourth of July talking about what it’s like to be days away from moving into her dorm and weeks away from starting her freshman year at her dream school, the University of Notre Dame. What it’s going to be like in her first season as a member of the Irish women’s soccer team instead of enjoying her final year of high school.
“I don’t know if it’s really hit me,” VanDyck admitted. “Most people want their senior year. Don’t get me wrong. I like high school, but I LOVE Notre Dame. I couldn’t wait to get here.”