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Notre Dame students ruin the game

Gerald Selcz | Sunday, September 14, 2003

On Saturday I was at Ann Arbor at the big house with my wife and two of my three sons. I have been going to Notre Dame games since 1972. In all those years, I have had some problems with fans in the stadium but I never thought my worst game that I ever had attended would be the fault of the Notre Dame students.

I have driven all night in the rain and snow to games at Penn State and Ohio State and even Miami. All of these have a reputation for being a hostile environment for the opposing team’s fans. But Saturday, Sept. 13 is a day I won’t forget.

We got there early in the morning and tailgated with the Michigan fans. We joked together about how the game would be played – a very enjoyable time. When getting to our seats I was happy that Notre Dame fans and mostly students of Notre Dame surrounded me. My sons have been raised in the state of Michigan and were wearing Michigan shirts while my wife and I were in the 2003 Shirt.

The five male students behind us had been drinking and were very loud and were raining down four letter words on all the Michigan fans. If you’re a fan of any organization you can only tolerate so much before you start looking for a confrontation. One of the Notre Dame students slipped off the bleacher and into one of my boys. A shoving match started, words were exchanged and I had to stand in between them. I was asked why I was standing up for them because they were Michigan fans.

I would have done the same for any fans and I would hope that most Notre Dame fans would do the same. This was not frustration from what was happening on field because there was no score yet. I have always believed that it didn’t matter what school you supported as long as you could respect the opposing team. This is what makes college football so great.

It has long been a tradition at Notre Dame to stand on the bleachers during the game. I have always been proud to see that at home games. But at an away game there is no student section and there is a mix of fans of all ages. My wife is close to having knee replacement and, at 53, my ability to balance while standing on the bleachers during the whole game is not what it used to be. I could only imagine what the 70 plus gentleman down from me was going through.

I was asked by these same students, later in the game, why I was not cheering for the Irish and stated that they had taken away my spirit. I was embarrassed for Notre Dame by what was happening in the stands, not by what was happening on the field.

The security at Notre Dame stadium is unmatched by any away event and at Michigan there was nowhere to get help. Therefore it should be up to the students to police themselves to uphold the standards of being part of the greatest University.

After all, we are Notre Dame.

Gerald SelczPortage, IndianaSept. 14