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Ushers betray students

Matthew Klobucher, Ryan Gagnet, Kevin Conley, John McCarthy | Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Halftime, Brigham Young game, 2003. Immediately behind us were two close senior friends cheering at the last home game of their college careers.Like most, they were throwing marshmallows. Before the band took the field, a young usher approached them and warned them against throwing any more marshmallows, threatening them with ejection if they did. Obeying the usher, our friends promised not to offend any more. As the halftime show continued and the marshmallow fight reached its climax, they kept their promise, even as they were hit repeatedly (like the rest of us) by the harmless projectiles flying all around them. They did not want to lose the ability to watch the rest of the game, which was going nicely.Unfortunately, as the band left the field at the end of halftime, the same usher returned with his captain and demanded both the IDs and the tickets of our friends. They did not give a reason for doing this, though they were repeatedly asked. They ignored our friends’ truthful protestations that they were not throwing marshmallows, as well as our reminders that the warning the young usher had issued them had been followed. Though the captain’s rough treatment of our friends and his abusive language was extremely offensive, perhaps betrayal was the first usher’s false promise that he would himself remind the captain that our friends had been warned already. After a heated argument that lasted about five minutes, our friends were escorted down to the concourse and kicked out of the Stadium.The marshmallow fighting has been an issue now for several games. It is hard to imagine more harmless things to throw, and we find it hard to believe that many students have been harboring such injurious designs on their peers by concealing coins and rocks within. Certainly we haven’t been hit by any such modified marshmallows. By contrast, the bedlam that ensues subsequent to every Irish touchdown or interception is positively deadly.The worst thing about this conflict, however, is the unreasonable and unfair action of the ushers. Since our two friends had already been warned and had promised (in good faith) to throw no more marshmallows, and since they were not in possession or in the act of throwing any, we can only conclude bitterly that the ushers needed to make an example of someone and chose our friends – who were at the time simply standing, warming hands in their pockets. The fact that they made no attempt to catch a culprit in the act of throwing (a task that would have been fairly easy) demonstrates that they had no desire to “protect the students,” “put a stop to the throwing” or “seize the ringleaders.” Furthermore, the first usher failed to stand by his promise that our friends would be allowed to stay if they ceased throwing, if only by communicating that promise to the captain. He betrayed two students he had good reason to expect were no longer offending and aided the captain in removing them. Finally, they were rude and demanding, paying our friends not even the decency of telling them why they were being kicked out (a significant question, given our friends’ obedience to the first injunction).This incident left us all in shock. Two seniors, in their last home game as students, were ejected for the sole purpose of providing an example.Though we admit the ushers have the right to remove those whom they consider a threat, such was clearly not the case with our friends. The decision to remove them was not predicated on their previous offense – it was nowhere mentioned during the argument by either usher, who also conveniently ignored the original warning. It is a pity that two unoffending members of the vaunted Notre Dame family, on the simple whim of an usher, can be treated so harshly and unfairly and then deprived of perhaps the most memorable of Notre Dame experiences: their final home game as students.

Matthew KlobucherRyan GagnetKevin ConleyStanford HallJohn McCarthyKeough HallseniorsNov. 17