The Irish Guard must go
Letter to the Editor
This in no way represents the official views of the band as a whole, its officers or the directors, but as a member of the band of the Fighting Irish, I am very upset with the way the Irish Guard has conducted itself in public this year, which reflects poorly on all of us band members who march behind them.
It seems like a weekly occurrence getting a handful of complaints via mail, e-mail, phone calls and letters to The Observer about the Irish Guard. As an auxiliary group to the band, they have done nothing but tarnish the golden image of the band by misrepresenting us when they knock over helpless children, the elderly and students' fiancées.
Where were you guys this year when at Michigan two large men cut right in front of a row of band members marching back to our busses? That's right, you were busy knocking over some little old lady who happened to be standing along the side of the road. You guys can't even protect the band, your first and foremost duty.
If the Irish Guard was actually good for something other than providing a few cheap thrills for girls hoping to get flashed, then it might be a different story. In 1949, director of bands H. Lee Hope conceived the idea of the Irish Guard for adding color to the band while maintaining the dignity befitting the nation's oldest university band. I seriously doubt the black and blue marks that the Irish Guard's victims have received are the type of color he was talking about. As for maintaining dignity, nice try!
It comes down to two things. The Guard is not doing its job and they are only making it harder for everyone else to do theirs. The marching band has been the best and has worked the hardest this year than in any year before; everyone will tell you that. At rehearsals, everyone in the band is giving 110 percent while guard members screw around and do everything except for what they are supposed to be doing, which wastes everyone's time.
The Irish Guard has been disbanded in the past for different reasons. I think it is time for it to happen again. There are so many musicians that show up to band camp in August who don't make the band and are heartbroken and would die for the opportunity to march in the band. Why don't we let 10 more well-deserving musicians in, disband the Irish Guard and kill two irritating birds with one easy-to-throw stone?
I realize the Irish Guard is a tradition, but is this a tradition we really want, painting Notre Dame and the band in such a poor light? I know this is going to roll some heads and I am glad because I know many band members are thinking exactly what I'm thinking but are afraid to say it.
I know I am speaking for the silent majority. This needed to be said by someone and I have no problem with that someone being me.
Antonio Di Pasquale
December 2, 1999
All Viewpoint Stories for Friday, December 3, 1999