We are ND?
by MIKE CONNOLLY
I have never been more proud to be a Notre Dame student than I was on Saturday. The spirit and energy rising from the student section was incredible. From holding hands in a show of unity for the Irish offense in overtime to screaming our lungs out to support the defense, the student section sent a solid message that we are the best fans in college football.
And when the chips didn't fall Notre Dame's way and Eric Crouch scampered in for that touchdown, the spirit didn't die. We called the players over to our corner and thanked them for their efforts. Thanked them for their heart. Thanked our fellow students for making us proud to cheer for them. Anyone who thinks the magic is gone from Notre Dame football doesn't understand Notre Dame students – either football players or football watchers.
Saturday was truly our finest hour.
Unfortunately the pride and spirit of the student section and the heart and determination of the players were once again overshadowed. Last year at two basketball games, isolated incidents drew national media attention. This year the students redeemed themselves with a loud, classy effort in support of our team.
This time, however, a water bottle or a tasteless chant didn't drown out the Irish spirit – the alumni did. I can only say that I am completely disgusted with any alumnus who sold his ticket to a Nebraska fan.
What sort of change comes over a Notre Dame student on graduation day? How does all the energy and spirit of the Notre Dame student section transform into the greed and shame of the alumni?
The players spent hours on the practice field and weeks in the weight room striving to make themselves better, stronger. To represent this University with pride and heart. Can you really put a price on this?
To all those alumni who sold their tickets — and sold out our football team — I have one challenge for you: Write a letter to Anthony Denman. Explain to our middle linebacker why you thought his efforts were only worth whatever you charged for your ticket. Tell him why there were 60,000 screaming Irish fans in his home stadium on Saturday instead of 76,000.
Then I want you to call Arnaz Battle. Tell him why there were 20,000 people screaming against him when he led the Irish offense. Convince Battle, who played the entire game with a broken wrist, that money is more important than supporting this team. I want you to tell him how much his heart is worth to you.
I want you to come to the Joyce Center and walk into the football office. Tell Bob Davie that you've given up on his team. Tell him that no matter how well he prepares his team, how much they've improved, you just don't care.
Then come to practice one night this week and stand outside the gates of the practice field. When the team leaves the field, tell each of them that they mean nothing to you. Tell them you put a price on their heart, soul and effort.
Of course, I don't expect any of these things to happen. It would take someone with class and pride to do these things.
In one way, I am glad those alumni weren't at the game. Because when the students were chanting "We are ND" at the end of the game, they couldn't join in.
All Inside Stories for Monday, September 11, 2000