Admiring character, admiring Manti
Stephen Zerfas | Tuesday, September 18, 2012
In the two full seasons of Notre Dame football I’ve been here for, our struggles off the field have been just as difficult to deal with as our struggles in the game. Manti Te’o made nearly heroic contributions in both arenas last Saturday night. With 12 tackles and an interception, Te’o seemed to be pressuring the quarterback and bringing down the receiver on the same play, but what really caught my attention was his interview afterwards. Te’o stunned those of us watching minutes after the game on TV Saturday night. His recent heartbreaking losses were enough to get our attention, but his genuine humility and gratitude were what really stole our hearts.
Twelve times every fall we put our hearts out on the line and lose our voices supporting a group of guys that can do the most athletic things, but even the wildest of fans have to admit it’s frustrating and difficult to yell for someone on the field while you could never support him in real life.
I’m not asking for a team of saints, but I’m not sure we’ve had a player since Brady Quinn who’s earned our admiration on the field and our love off the field. It’s guys like that you want to see win. It’s guys like that you want to see get the spotlight. And it is certainly guys like that you want to embody the University of Notre Dame on national television.
Manti, you’ve got the University’s respect, admiration and condolences. And on top of that, you’ll forever have our thanks.