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Tradition transcends winning and losing

Gordon Stanton | Sunday, September 29, 2013

I have never been more disappointed in a Notre Dame football team, and the program as a whole, than I was this Saturday.
I’ve seen a fair amount of teams in my time (despite my current status as junior, I started as a freshman in 2009 and before that, I came out to games while visiting my sister). Some played better than this one. Some played a lot worse. But no matter how they played, every game ended with the team and students singing the Alma Mater in unison.
On Saturday, that tradition was broken. Originally, this seemed to be some players who in their frustration had lost sight of our tradition. That would have been pretty terrible. But it was so much worse to find out that in fact, they had been following the new “policy” of the Notre Dame football team, which will no longer be singing the Alma Mater after losses.
The last eight minutes of that game were brutal to watch. As other students started slowly vacating, every bone in my body wanted to leave and not witness this slow painful death. But I stayed. Because that’s what you do when you care about your team and your school. You stand with them even in defeat. But it hurt so much to watch those players abandon me after I’d stayed for them and stood with them.
Clearly some decision was made that we can’t celebrate losses. But this is such a horrible interpretation of what the Alma Mater means. It’s never been a celebration. It is not the Notre Dame Victory March. Instead, it’s an affirmation of our commitment to each other and of the bond that exists between all students of Notre Dame even when times are tough.
I’m sure someone out there will disagree with me. They’ll say this tradition is outdated. But for me, this has always been the defining feature of Notre Dame football. We win together. We lose together. But no matter what, we do it together. And that tradition of community should count for more than some half-baked new policy.
Gordon Stanton
Sorin Hall
Sept. 29