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Tradition and you

Marc Anthony Rose | Monday, September 26, 2011

It’s my senior year as a Domer and I’ve been extremely fortunate to submerge myself in as many Notre Dame things as I can. And from my experiences, I can certainly tell you that I’ve learned a lot.

When someone asks me why Notre Dame is, in fact, Notre Dame, one of the first things that comes to mind is how seriously we take things — academics, football, the Viewpoint commentaries about football, Touchdown Jesus, UGG boots, same-side dining-hall dates and Franzia dorm parties. The fact is, all of us at Notre Dame take traditions like these extremely seriously, and that’s one of the greatest things about the University. And, while we rationalize why one of the most coveted of Notre Dame traditions, the football team, lost its AP Preseason Poll ranking, we love our football team because traditions like this are so engrained in all of us.

Despite our love for traditions, however, we’ll never be able to create new ones. We love them so much that they’ve become more cemented year after year. The minute we try something foreign to our closely-held set of traditions, we immediately dispel it because it’s not part of the set we’ve come to love.

Does anyone remember “Crank me up?” Tradition stared it in the face and subtly whispered “no,” simply because we’ve never seen it before. Thus, the vicious cycle continues, and we’re stuck recycling the comfortable and disregarding the fresh.

However, fear no more. I want to help sustain the University with traditions as best as I can, and I’ve conducted some extensive research into the matter and discovered the magic formula.

Creating a Notre Dame tradition goes something like this. (1) Identify a unique action, preferably repeatable, preferably inappropriate for a 1940’s standard. (2) Drink a lot of alcohol (obviously under 14 percent … that would be against DuLac). (3) If it’s a phrase or chant, gather in LaFortune on a Friday night and chant it; if it’s an action, peer pressure your freshmen to do it with the allure of making a booze run for them. (4) Here’s the tricky part: repeat this process over and over again, until (5) Notre Dame issues a letter about it, creates a Freshman Orientation meeting about it, prints a Notre Dame Bookstore-official t-shirt about it or someone makes a Facebook fan page about it.

Kind of rings true, right? Think Hesburgh Challenge, the Stonehenge Run after a huge victory, climbing Stepan Center, discovering Notre Dame’s underground tunnels — the list goes on. They all follow this formula one way or another.

Keep in mind that I’ve just cracked the code on how to do this. Only time will tell if it yields success or not. It’s your job to use this formula, memorize it, refine it and blindly accept it until we reap the fruits of our labors. Propel any questionable action or phrase into the future, where it will be questionable not to embrace it.

In the meantime, I want to introduce to you a tradition that may seem ridiculous now, but, with a Notre Dame twist, may become a tradition we hold 40 years down the road — Notre Dame planking.

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of planking, but it’s a fad that’s spread like wildfire. According to trustworthy sources, “planking is an activity consisting of lying face down in an unusual or incongruous location. The hands must touch the sides of the body, and having a photograph of the participant taken and posted on the internet is an integral part of the game.” Google-search “planking” and you’ll see what I mean.

It’s a fad, and I hope it never disappears.

But we Notre Dame students can do so much better than this, using our mascot and Irish roots. (1) Dress up as a leprechaun. (2) Buy a pot of gold. (3) Place the pot of gold on the ground, tilting the pot of gold 90 degrees until it’s about to tip over. (4) Lay straight on the ground like you normally would do while planking, but let your face fall flat into the pot of gold.

There you have it! I’m counting on you to follow through.

And, for anyone who Notre Dame planks, take a picture of it and send it to me. I will write a full-column interview on you and how you’re creating a tradition.

Of course, this all may seem just a little strange to you. But that’s okay. It’s just not tradition yet.

Marc Anthony Rosa is a senior management entrepreneurship major. He can be reached at mrosa@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.