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Excuse me, Brian?

Letter to the Editor | Monday, September 30, 2013

As debate swirls about how the events after Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma unfolded, it seems to me that almost everyone is missing the most important part of the discussion – Coach Kelly’s explanation of what transpired. As a sophomore who attended his first football game at Notre Dame last fall, I was part of the privileged few that had never experienced a loss inside Notre Dame Stadium. I will admit, at first, I was not that upset when some of the team left the field before singing the Alma Mater. Was it breaking tradition? Yes. But in the heat of the moment, I could understand why players would want to head right to the locker room. Even when it came to light that Coach Kelly has instituted a “no win, no sing” policy on the team, I was still not too upset, but it was Kelly explanation of the policy that truly angered me.
“I just don’t think it’s appropriate to put your players after a defeat in a situation where they’re exposed,” said Kelly after the game. But what is singing the Alma Mater exposing the team to? Camaraderie? Showing pride in their school? Unity with the student body?
Kelly ended his comments about the Alma Mater protocol by saying, “It’s important to get the team back into the locker room and get them under my guidance.”
Especially at Notre Dame, where “winning the right way” has always been part of the formula, we also have to know how to lose the right way. If a coach wants to abandon the tradition of coming together as a student body and showing respect for the school whose history, mystique and supposed moral superiority we so deeply cherish, maybe his “guidance” is not what is best for the football players or Our Mother.