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Notre Dame outclassed

| Sunday, October 3, 2004

Saturday’s game was beyond embarrassing.

I cried – twice – before halftime.

We were outscored, outplayed, outmatched and – though I never thought I would have to say this – outclassed.

I remember reading a letter in The Observer a year ago. The letter was written by a Michigan fan apologizing for the conduct of her classmates. At the time, a feeling that unfortunately resembled pride welled up inside me; pride that Notre Dame fans would never act in such a despicable and abhorrent manner. Obviously, we did not lynch a mock-up of their football coach, regardless of skin color, but this was not all that the letter was about. We would never scream profanities at our opponents. We would never go out of our way to push over, knock into and otherwise bruise them. We would never hurl various items directly at them in an attempt to prove ourselves as what? Sore losers?

Yet at the Purdue game, I was hit in the back of the head with a quarter-full water bottle quite obviously aimed at a Purdue fan right in front of me. Her cousin, who stood next to her, was drenched in a mixture of Coke and half-melted ice cubes. She was verbally attacked by many Irish fans surrounding her, until one student left and came back with an usher in an attempt to kick her out of the stadium.

I am not saying that the Purdue fan was entirely in the right. There were many Purdue fans in the students’ section who were able to stand contently, watching their team push the ball down the field time and time and time again. I agree that the manner in which she cheered was incredibly aggravating; in fact, I moved from standing next to her because she emphatically clapped her hands and shrieked in such a manner that caused the eardrums of surrounding students to ring. I can understand how some would consider it uncalled for when she began to sing her team’s cheers over ours, though her enthusiasm was no less than I would expect from any Irish fan at an away game. However, the fact that one girl could sing the Purdue cheers over an entire section of Irish fans is equally regrettable. There are two things Notre Dame fans have become known for throughout the years: spirit and kindness. My parents, both of whom graduated in the class of ’74, taught me this well before my third birthday. Unfortunately, we showed neither this Saturday.

For those it may concern: the Purdue fan did, in fact, have a ticket, as did the many other Purdue fans sitting in the students’ section and throughout the stadium. If you have a problem with this, take it up with the Irish fans who sold their tickets, no doubt often at a considerable profit, to Purdue fans. Additionally, she was not kicked out of the stadium. She was relocated to another section where she would not be so threatened by the words and actions of those around her. Finally, without a doubt, she is going to go home to Purdue and tell every one of her friends what horrible sports and terrible people Notre Dame students proved themselves. I speak not only of those who acted in aggression against her, but also the many surrounding fans who stood in silence and did nothing.

If we had scored four touchdowns in the last five minutes to make the greatest comeback ever known in college football, it would have made no difference to me. In my eyes, we had already lost well before halftime.

Kate Dobbertin


McGlinn Hall

Oct. 3