John Ritschard: ‘He loved the kids, and they loved him’

first_imgIf South Dining Hall was ever serving Carl’s chicken as the special, John Ritschard made sure the students knew.Photo courtesy of I Am Notre Dame He’d swipe their ID cards, give them a smile and tell a joke. Then he’d suggest a meal for them to try.“He was a walking, talking menu,” his wife, Lila Ritschard, said.John died Sunday afternoon at age 86. He had been diagnosed with Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive skin cancer, in March 2015. But that didn’t stop him from coming to work in the dining hall for months after his diagnosis.“He loved it. My husband loves young people,” Lila said. “He loves to tell jokes and riddles and tease. He enjoyed students coming in and out, getting to know them. We just loved being here.”Lila started working as a day monitor in 2007. When John was hired in 2008, the two took the night shift — 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. — on Mondays through Thursdays.Over the years, they became an integral part of the Notre Dame community.“Notre Dame was the greatest support over all these years,” Lila said. “It just blows me away — the love that has been shown to us both here.”Jack of all tradesJohn was born and raised in South Bend, Lila said, but didn’t have much to do with the University until he started working in the dining hall.“He found his niche here,” she said.After high school, John worked in the Studebaker plant for a couple years. He worked at Sears in Elkhart for more than 20 years as one of the top salespeople. After stints in the real estate industry and other odd jobs, he made his way to Notre Dame.The pair — John and Lila — quickly became a staple at South Dining Hall. They almost never missed a day of work.“We just were always together. We just enjoyed each other,” Lila said. “I don’t think we were ever off up until the last three years.”John and Lila met in January 1999. She was working in a beauty shop at the time and a big blizzard had just struck the town. As she was cancelling the day’s appointment, in came John, traipsing over snow banks, to use his coupon for a free haircut.“Everybody used to call me the coupon bride,” she said. “I said, ‘Yes, he came in for a free haircut. See how much it cost him? The most expensive haircut of his life.’”John was the type of person that would do anything for anyone, Lila said.“I had to be careful what I said,” she added. “He was a jack of all trades. There was nothing he couldn’t fix, nothing he couldn’t make.”He made all the wood furniture in the couple’s house. He made all of Lila’s lamps. He made the table that stands in the middle of the dining hall entrance, with carved Notre Dame logos.And once, he even made his own plane, Lila said.“He was a pilot,” she said. “And he taught his whole family how to fly. They used to fly about everywhere they went.”All in all, John was a man who loved to help others, Lila said.“He would reach out to anything in need,” she said. “He loved to teach and he loved to learn.”A contagious smileSenior Marta Poplawski said she met John during her first weekend at Notre Dame. He stopped her as she was walking into the dining hall and asked for her name.“The next day, he remembered me,” she said. “It was the first moment someone was really welcoming here outside of hall staff.”A week later, Poplawski was going to eat dinner alone around 4:30 p.m. — then she saw John and Lila at a nearby table.“So I sat down and just ate with them,” she said. “And that started three years of friendship.”Over the years, John and Lila kept up with students and graduates. John won the Irish Clover Award last year, given to two individuals each year for outstanding service to the student body.“I felt like John and Lila were my grandparents away from home, in a sense,” Poplawski said.John’s smile was simply contagious, said senior Adam Degand. And it was always the same.“He had such a goofy smile,” he said. “He would make you stop for a second, show you that smile and ask you about whatever’s going on.”“Especially if you’re a freshman or new to the school — it makes you feel like you’re part of the community,” he added. “That’s special.”Dining hall monitor Dee Michael said John always had a joke of the day.“He loved the kids, and they loved him,” she said.Some days, the dining hall would run out of certain dishes — because John talked about them too much.“The cooks used to get so mad at him because he’d be telling them what the specials were, and people would listen to him. So we’d be running out of it,” South Dining Hall manager Ruth Pajor said.Dennis Smith, a manager at South Dining Hall, said John’s warm and welcoming presence will be missed by all.“The night is not the same when he’s not around,” he said. “He just had a glow about him.”The simplest things Sami Zuba, a 2014 Notre Dame graduate, said in her freshman year, her birthday fell during the first two weeks of school. And she wasn’t having a great day.“It was my first birthday away from home and everything,” she said. “But then I got up to the front of the line, John swiped my card and told me happy birthday. It just absolutely made my day to know that someone on campus cared.”It was small acts like this that showed John’s big heart, Zuba said.“It was just such a simple thing,” she said. “And I think a lot of people walk out of Notre Dame hoping they can do big things to make a difference in people’s lives. One of the best ways you can do that is just doing little things.”Editor’s note: Sami Zuba was an assistant managing editor for The Observer.Every Tuesday and Thursday, sophomore Amy Mansfield and her service dog Juniper would eat dinner in South Dining Hall before folk choir practice. And every time, John stopped them to ask how they were doing.“You don’t expect someone to have such a big impact on your life when it’s a 30-second interaction each time you see him,” she said.When people complained that the chairs the monitors sat on were too tall, John took one home each night and cut it down, until they were all shorter.“That’s just the kind of guy he was,” Smith said.John had the ability to immediately light up a room, Poplawski said.“You could not enter with a bad mood into South Dining Hall,” she added. “I would wear headphones, and he would make me take them off to talk to him.”John did much more than greet people, Mansfield said.“I don’t know if it was his goal to touch every student, but I feel like everyone who walked through their line during dinner was somehow impacted,” she said. “Their day was probably made a little bit better.A visitation for John will be held Sept. 24 at Osceola Methodist Church from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and will be immediately followed by a service. Both are open to the public.Notre Dame Food Services is going to provide the meat and cake for the luncheon.“We’re just so blessed and humbled to be a part of this community,” Lila said. “I couldn’t imagine it any other way.”Tags: John and Lila, John Ritschard, Notre Dame Food Services, SDH, South Dining Hall, South Dining Hall monitorlast_img read more

Revised ATP calendar not safe for players, says Murray

first_imgRelatedPosts Live stream Premier League, La Liga, Serie A on Showmax Pro this weekend Thiem claims his first Grand Slam title after thrilling fightback in US Open Naomi Osaka wins US Open women’s title Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray said on Saturday that the ATP’s revised calendar, which includes seven tournaments in as many weeks, is not safe for players, who will be forced to skip major events due to the crammed schedule.The ATP tour, which was suspended in March due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, is set to restart on August 14 with the Citi Open, followed by the Cincinnati Masters, which will be held at Flushing Meadows before the US Open. The men’s claycourt swing will start on September 8 in Kitzbuhel, followed by Masters tournaments in Madrid and Rome on September 13 and Rome Masters on September 20, with the French Open set to begin a week later.“It’s not safe for players to go from the semi-finals or final in New York… and then play in Madrid at altitude on clay when they haven’t competed for a long time,” Murray told a news conference during the “Battle of the Brits” charity tournament.“You’re going to have the potential where a lot of top players are not competing at many of the biggest events.”The 33-year-old said with events coming thick, fast changes would need to be made with respect to players’ ranking points.“It might be worth looking at a two-year ranking for the time being maybe so that guys who have done well last year and are sort of not really able to defend their points properly aren’t kind of punished,” the twice Wimbledon champion said. Murray suggested he will skip the tournament in Cincinnati to get his preparations for the US Open in order.“I would rather play Washington and miss the event the week before at the US Open if they all go ahead,” he added.Murray returned to action following a seven-month injury layoff at the charity event organised by his brother Jamie this week, progressing to the semifinals before losing 1-6 6-3 10-8 to Dan Evans.Reuters/NAN.Tags: Andy MurrayATPUS Openlast_img read more

Cricket News Josh Hazlewood questions Jason Roy’s Test credentials ahead of Ashes

first_img New Delhi: The Ashes contest between England and Australia is the ultimate Test series due to the history and rivalry between the two teams. England is on a high after winning the World Cup for the first time and they will be aiming to sign their historic summer on a high with a win in the five-match series, which is also the start of the World Test Championship. Australia, on the other hand, has not won a series in England since 2001 and they will be smarting from the semi-final loss in the 2019 World Cup against the hosts. With such a storied history between the two sides, sparks are bound to fly and Josh Hazlewood has fired the first salvo when he questioned Jason Roy’s Test credentials. Roy was a key member in the England top order during their victorious 2019 World Cup as he smashed four fifties and a century to help England lift the cup. On his Test debut against Ireland, he hit 72 in the second innings but he averages just over 38 in first-class cricket. Hazlewood said Roy will be tested as opening in England is a tough proposition. “We’ll see how Roy goes in Test cricket. He has only played one Test match and it’s a lot different opening the batting in a Test than a one-day game, that’s for sure. In England, opening is probably the toughest place to bat, which probably made Alastair Cook’s record all the better. To play attacking cricket in those conditions is tough,” Hazlewood said.Hazlewood, though, was concerned about the workload the likes of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc will be subject to after a gruelling World Cup combined with five Tests in 45 days. “I think it would be a very good effort to play all five, especially with my last two years, I’ve missed a few Tests with the injury. I’d be really happy with four (Tests), three or four even. It’s such a tight schedule. Five would be great if we got away with a couple of cheap innings, bowling 30 (overs) for the Test or something like that, it’d be great. You might get away with a Test with 30 overs under your belt which is fine. It’s when it goes up to 45 to 50 that you start to reassess things and look at different options,” Hazlewood said.Australia has picked six pacers in the side for the Ashes contest. Apart from Hazlewood, there is Cummins, Starc, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and back-up in Michael Neser and Hazlewood said it is a good problem to have. “We all know each other, we train a lot with each other whether it’s Pattinson, Siddle or Michael Neser. We know each other pretty well and I guess the only way to get to know them more is by playing with them. I’ve played with ‘Patto’ a fair bit now over the years so I know his ins and outs and what makes him tick on the field. Peter Siddle the same. I don’t think it matters who is going to play, we all know each other really well,” Hazlewood said. The Ashes is the first series of the World Test Championship.James Pattinson returns to the Australia side after three years.Australia has not won a series in England since 2001. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.center_img highlightslast_img read more