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Glory of tradition still alive

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I must say that after reading Gus Zuehlke’s article (“Bad game day behavior disgraces football tradition,” Sept. 15), I am a little confused about which university he attended back in the late 1970’s that was such a virtuous utopia compared to the University of Notre Dame and its students today. No, I wasn’t alive when Mr. Zuehlke attended the university, but my father graduated in ’75, and the parents of my friends were in attendance at the same time as Zuehlke – so I’ve heard the stories.

Zuehlke comments on the “degeneration of what was once a festival we could celebrate without endangering our souls”. He implores that the student body to “drink but not get drunk,” and yet, while he attended the University, kegs made their way into the Stadium via ropes pulled along the outer walls. I am sure that the virtuous student body, which he implies attended the University at the time, was not drinking to get drunk. After all, people who do not want to get drunk usually cannot wait until after a game to resume drinking. I am afraid I cannot comment on how lewd people were at games; I’ll be honest – I have no idea. But combing through the yearbooks of the late 1970’s for a project I recently worked on, I came across the following photographs in those yearbooks: 1. A snow “sculpture” created on campus in the shape of a middle finger aimed at the golden dome. 2. A sign at a local movie theater showing the movie title “Deep Throat XXX”. (On a side note, it is a funny picture since there is a trash can in front of the theater bearing the sign “Keep it Clean.”) There were other photos as well, but I’ll leave them to your imagination.

Do these images portray a student body devoid of lewdness? Now I hope you won’t get the picture that I am berating the student body during the late 1970’s. Actually, I applaud them for having what seems to be a fun-loving attitude while remaining serious enough in their studies to prepare themselves to make a difference in the world. Nor am I condoning the behavior of those current students who “cross the line.” Just don’t claim that today’s students are “prostituting” the Notre Dame Football tradition because a few students act out. Today’s student body embodies the same Notre Dame spirit which has characterized previous student bodies at this university over the past 166 years – the same Notre Dame spirit which impressed ESPN magazine enough to name us the No. 1 “Most Spirited Student Body” in college football in an August 2008 issue. When it comes down to it, Mr. Zuehlke, the student body hasn’t changed – only your perception has.

Kevin J. Gleason

alumnus

Class of 2008

Sept. 15