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Scandal at the Rock

Claire Heininger | Thursday, August 28, 2003

Shoulders aren’t sexy. They can be freckled, bony, muscular, shrimpy, or even minorly attractive, but they’re not sexy. I don’t sit in South Dining Hall with my girlfriends talking about the hot shoulders on that guy in the stir-fry line, and I seriously doubt that any of the men on this campus waste their time checking out the shoulders on us.

But apparently, according to the rule-makers at the Rock – that’s the Knute Rockne Memorial workout building for all of you sloths out there – shoulders are an urgent issue.

Or rather, hiding shoulders is an urgent issue.

Let me explain. When this exhausted, sweat-soaked, endorphin-drenched female stumbles the last few steps of her lake run up those famous stairs, she is not only greeted by the smiling statue of Rockne.

Knute’s contented, welcoming expression bears no resemblance to the indignant look on the front desk attendant’s face. “Sorry,” he or she will say, frowning disapprovingly at my shoulder-exposing tank top. “You gotta have sleeves on to come inside.”

This has happened to me on several occasions, and countless more times to my female friends – having our ambitious post-run plans of weight-lifting, stretching, or even just getting a drink of water shot down at the sight of our scandalous shoulders.

Never mind that male friends walk right on upstairs in their cut-off T-shirts, bound for the familiar light-headed scents of chlorine and basketball rubber and oversprayed weight-room Lysol. Never mind that a girl could be wearing a hat, gloves, full-length pants and boots, but still be turned away at the mere glimpse of a collarbone.

If it’s Notre Dame’s responsibility to protect our chastity, then why stop at locking down female dorms 24 hours a day? Why stop at forcing male visitors to hand over their ID cards, sign in their names and suffer under the scrutinizing looks of security guards when they even dare to broach such a security fortress?

They ought to know by now that the real temptation doesn’t come from spending time with a member of the opposite sex after midnight, or even from taking a sip of beer – it’s the naked shoulders of the panting, dripping girl on the next treadmill.

If you consider yourself a knowledgeable Notre Dame student, you already know that Knute Rockne was an amazing football coach and an honorable American. But now you know that his legacy isn’t complete without a mention of his shoulder fetish.