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Ungracious hosts

| Sunday, September 6, 2015

When did Notre Dame students become ungracious hosts?

Notre Dame has long been a place apart, including its welcoming of opposing teams’ football fans. That reputation was damaged Sept. 5. At the end of the ND-Texas game, each team went to opposite corners of the stadium — Notre Dame’s players gathered in front of the student section, and Texas gathered in front of its band, where many of its fans were sitting. When the Texas band began to play its alma mater, “The Eyes of Texas,” boos rained down from the ND student section. Such a reaction would have been unworthy of the student body on any day, but it was especially so given the lopsided victory by the Irish. That was a moment to be magnanimous, not churlish.

Brian McKeon

class of 1985

Sept. 6

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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  • RPB

    That was a misunderstanding. The ND student body had already begun singing the alma mater without waiting for the ND Band to play because the team had already gathered in the corner. The students believed that the Texas band was trying to drown out our alma mater.

    • Brian McKeon

      I was sitting in the corner where the Texas band was located. Someone with a headset — presumably working for ND — signalled to the Texas band director to commence playing. So it appeared to be pre-arranged that the Texas band would play first. It is doubtful anyone in the ND student section saw that exchange. Still not a reason to boo.

  • Paul Bonitatibus

    I agree, Brian. While not a reason to boo, I think the fan reaction to the Texas Alma Mater was because the Longhorn band interrupted our band which was ready to play Notre Dame, Our Mother while the team saluted the students. We can’t expect our visitors to understand our traditions and routine.
    What troubles me more is how we reign down our jeers when the opposing team enters the field. We are better than that and would like to see some effort to curb it.
    I was also disappointed with some young men sitting in front of me in the gold seats verbally berating the Texas players throughout the game. We need to work on our sportsmanship. Overall, I think Texas fans enjoyed the weekend visit except for the whooping put on them by the Irish,

    Paul Bonitatibus ’71

  • Kevin Byrnes

    As RPB noted, the reaction from students (apparently more freshmen than others) was based on a misunderstanding over whose song was being played first. Communication from above might have helped (“Please turn your attention to the southeast corner of the field…”). I wouldn’t make too much of this, or of students briefly booing the other team taking the field. It’s a college FB game, not a bridal shower! And it’s pretty much all in fun. In Section 112 we had plenty of Texas fans nearby, and interchanges were all cordial. After the game a fellow with his grade-school-aged sons asked an ND fan in the row behind to take their pic–not only did the ND fan do it, he prompted the kids to give the “hook ’em” gesture, which made their faces light up in smiles.

  • Devon Chenelle

    God forbid people boo the opposing team at a football game…The ND student body is so above-and-beyond polite to visiting teams and fan bases that quibbling over something like this is beyond ridiculous. Have you ever seen the reception some visiting college football teams receive on other campuses?

  • Paul Boothe

    My wife and I, both Texas alum, had the pleasure to be in the stadium Saturday and I assure you there was nothing Ungracious about any of the thousands of NDfans we encountered. We have travelled to many away games and were blown away by how friendly your fans were to all of the Texas fans in attendance. Also, as a former member of the Longhorn Band and current member of the Longhorn Alumni Band, don’t worry- I am certain that feelings weren’t hurt over a few boos and a misunderstanding over which band would play first at the end of the game. Frankly I was embarrased that with our athletic budget and rich tradition, the decision was made to only travel the small pep band and not our full band for a historic opportunity against Notre Dame. Hope that many of you make the trip to Austin next year and can only hope that both our full band and football team decide to show up for next year’s game.

    Thanks for the great hospitality!