Tyler Testin | March 4, 2017
Gold is a color synonymous with the best of the best. Olympians vie for the gold medal. Miners dream of striking gold. At Notre Dame, gold gives a shine to the dome at the center of campus. It is also the color of the practice penny awarded each week to the member of the women’s lacrosse team who best exemplifies a set of six qualities known as the Gold Standard.
“We’ve always had gold standards and we wanted to make it something more visual,” senior midfielder Emma Claire Fontenot said. “It is a good way to honor people who have been working hard and showing good characteristics.”
The team’s seniors come to an agreement each season on specific characteristics encompassed by the Gold Standard. Respect, sacrifice, integrity, commitment, accountability and having fun amount to the current standard. Each week, the previous player designated as the Gold Standard passes on their uniquely colored penny to someone they have observed embodying those qualities.
“It serves as a visual reminder that that person is someone that we can follow their lead and look up to,” senior defender Hannah Rees said.
When an athlete is designated as the Gold Standard-bearer, a letter is emailed to their inbox describing the characteristics they demonstrated during the previous week. A list of responsibilities they must fulfill as the standard-bearer is also outlined in the letter. It reminds the player that they will be the one tasked with choosing the following week’s standard. A lot can go in this decision because anyone on the 30-women roster has the opportunity to be chosen.
“It doesn’t have to necessarily be someone that’s always on the field in games,” Fontenot said. “In the fall a lot of times it can be someone that’s working just as hard, if not harder, than everyone else for playing time.”