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We’re not all champions

Dan Murphy | Wednesday, April 25, 2007

There is a very special sign mounted in the most hallowed, publicized hallway on Notre Dame’s campus. It’s not the Main Building or the Basilica, nor is it written by accomplished authors, past theologians, or even an ABC morning show host.

I’m talking, of course, about the football locker room and the famous “Play Like A Champion Today” banner.

It has been slapped more times, and by more famous hands, than a baseball player’s backside. But unfortunately, the sacred plaque is slowly losing its luster, not due to the slaps, but thanks to endless imitation and parody.

A long line of not-so-clever knockoffs has left the saying all but meaningless. It seems the entire Notre Dame community feels it is necessary to live every moment of our waking lives as “champions.”

This first came to my attention last week when my roommate returned home from the library in his typical whirlwind of frustration and swearing that would make Bob Knight look like Bob Saget in his days of Full House. He had had enough.

The poor soul had just been asked to “Log off like a champion” in one of Hesburgh’s computer clusters. And he could not – for the life of him – figure out how to log off well enough to be considered the very best.

As a Notre Dame student I have been asked to eat, drink, sleep, study, experiment, pray, save, and even clean like a champion. The other day, former Irish All-American Mike Golic even asked me to “Live like a Champion Today” via a billboard.

Now, Mr. Golic, will buying into your newest promotional project really put me in the elite company of Rockne, Parseghian and Holtz? I doubt it.

Somewhere along the way, the once-inspirational adage lost its way, and I say enough is enough.

So if for nothing else than my roommate’s sanity I’m begging you Notre Dame, just accept it – we’re not all champions. And despite what Vince Vaughn and the Wedding Crashers rulebook might say, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

I encourage all of you to eat like a heathen, drink like an Irishman, sleep like a grizzly bear, study like an engineer, experiment like a hormonal 13-year-old and pray like a monk today. I don’t really care how you log off in that computer library, but just make sure you do – wouldn’t want anyone messing with that Facebook profile.