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Notre Dame shows class

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, November 17, 2005

Growing up as an Irish Catholic kid on the East Coast, I think I’ve always rooted for Notre Dame – that is until I entered the United States Naval Academy after high school in 1987. Then the Irish were relegated to my “second favorite team.” We’ve seen some incredibly close games that seemed to give even the most cynical Navy fan hope, only to have it all come crashing down because of something – a controversial first-down spot at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore in 1986, the 2002 game in Baltimore that saw the Irish come from behind to win after scoring twice in the last 2:20 of the game, Fitzpatrick’s 40-yard field goal as time expired to win in 2003 – I could go on, but I won’t.

Despite a 42nd reason to have my Saturday ruined, last Saturday wasn’t the case. Never have I been so moved (in a non-Army game) than what I witnessed last Saturday. I don’t know how a non-Academy grad can ever fully understand what the Navy Blue and Gold means to us, but it would appear that the Notre Dame Football Program and indeed the fans in attendance at a minimum appreciate that value. Not only does Coach Charlie Weis get “it.” His team gets “it.” The whole stadium seemed to get “it.”

I hope that those that play the game from the ranks of Pop Warner to the NFL take notice and start holding themselves to such a standard of sportsmanship, so that the examples set by Michigan State, Clemson-South Carolina or Terrell Owens become nothing more a bad memory.

Much thanks to you, Coach, not just for what you have done for Notre Dame Football, but the statement you sent to all Annapolis grads around the world and to the game of college football.

Good luck to you and the University and beat Army!

Kevin Filan

United States Naval Academy

Class of ’91

Nov. 18