Demonstrate the Notre Dame spirit
I had the rare opportunity to share the experience that is Notre Dame football with my family recently. I am a senior and my father had been unable to attend a home game in my previous three years here.
The Notre Dame-USC game on Oct. 20 was a first for my family, and we took advantage of it. We watched the band play on the steps on Bond Hall, we ordered burgers from one of the club concession stands, we took pictures at the Library, the stadium, even my dorm room.
Tickets in hand, we joined the stream of people heading into the stadium, and made our way to our seats. I was a bit dismayed when I realized our relative proximity to the USC band would mean hours of "Fight On", and not the "Victory March" as well as cheers by guys in white sweaters named Tripp, or something similar, but I figured if this minor annoyance was my only gripe, I should consider myself thankful.
It wasn't raining, unlike the West Virginia game, and my family was excited to be here. I caught my father reading the football media guide a few times on Saturday morning.
No sooner had the game started, than the carping began. "What the hell are they doing?" "Oh, he's such a jerk!" "This is pathetic." I looked behind me, expecting to see, surely, a slightly less-than-sober USC fan, mocking Notre Dame's current on-field struggles.
I was wrong. Behind me stood a guy somewhere between 17 and 21, a so-called Notre Dame fan, criticizing every Irish play. I can only — and did only — pray that this individual was not a Notre Dame student or alum.
By choosing to associate ourselves — either as a student, member of the faculty or staff or even a non-affiliated fan — with Notre Dame, we choose to associate ourselves with class, dignity and spirit.
We choose to act as representatives of a University that we believe creates "the leaders of tomorrow." By behaving in ways that fly in the face of these concepts, we tarnish not only ourselves, but Notre Dame as well.
I understand the history that surrounds Notre Dame football, the lofty expectations of our players, both on and off the field and current disappointment with the team's record, as well as the coaching staff.
But Notre Dame transcends such things and loyal sons and daughters of Our Lady understand this. As a senior I have seen my share of football fiascos — but I realize there is truly more to Notre Dame than our football record.
We speak often of the Notre Dame spirit, the Notre Dame way. The Sept. 11 mass on South Quad truly illustrated the Notre Dame spirit. Deriding an athlete as a jerk does not.
The Irish will take on Navy next weekend. It will be the last home game of the season, and for the seniors, it is our last game in Notre Dame Stadium as students, not the alumni that we soon will be.
I challenge my fellow students to demonstrate the true class and spirit of Notre Dame, and to encourage — not belittle — our fellow classmates, dormmates and members of the Notre Dame family.
November 7, 2001
All Viewpoint Stories for Thursday, November 8, 2001