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Where Nothing is Sacred

Observer Scene | Friday, September 10, 2004

Nothing at Notre Dame is sacred when it comes to the Dillon Hall pep rally. No alumnus, no dorm, not even Touchdown Jesus. The dorm traditionally puts on its annual pep rally each year before the first home football game, and it is an event that allows the campus to laugh at the daily life at Notre Dame, as well as to make fun of our adversaries, this year being Michigan. If you have been on campus for the past week, you have probably heard about the Dillon Hall pep rally, whether from “Teen Wolf” running into your class playing music or a mob of Dillon boys running through your dorm. The men of the hall spend a great amount of effort promoting their event, and it helps to create a sense of unity among the members. The Dillon Hall pep rally opened as most Notre Dame pep rallies do, with cheerleaders, the Pom squad and speakers, but that is where the similarities end. Following the speeches from the football players, the rally becomes more of a comedy show than an attempt to boost spirits. The rally usually has a loose plot that ties the skits together, but the main purpose of the rally is to get the campus laughing and ready for the game on Saturday. Members of Dillon Hall write, set-up and usually assume the roles of well-known campus figures as they perform in the skits.The rally’s format is essentially that of a radio show, but it only adheres to that loosely. It opened with a humorous video diary documenting the behavior of Michigan fans. Naturally, it was an unflattering portrait that included people listing their favorite nasty nicknames for Notre Dame and its players, beating up leprechauns and revealing their secret jealousy for the Fighting Irish. The plot of the rally revolves around, the fact that Touchdown Jesus, the beloved mural on the side of the Hesburgh Library, turns up missing. This occurrence delights Michigan head coach Llloyd Carr, as he blames Michigan’s poor record in South Bend on the ever-watchful eye of the mural. Father Monk Malloy, dressed as a monkey, must assemble a dream team of Notre Dame graduates in order to find Touchdown Jesus. He eventually gets Regis Philbin, Rudy Ruttiger and Joe Montana as the core of his team, and appearances from Gold medal winner Marial Zugunis and the disgraced Paul Hornung. The quest to find Touchdown Jesus takes the group around the Notre Dame campus, mocking the game “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” Few groups on campus emerge unscathed from the rally. Flipside, engineers and Latin Expressions have their moments. Dorms like Knott, Siegfried, Zahm, BP and Lyons all have jokes made at their expense. Even slightly less obvious targets like the NDSP, the dining hall workers and the grounds crew can’t escape being made fun of. A game show called “Where in the World is Jesus of Nazareth?” proves to be the turning point for finding Jesus. After Father Paul Doyle, Dillon’s rector, must exit his post as the show’s host in order to do his traditional stage dive, the show takes on a “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” feel thanks to Regis taking over as host. Notre Dame’s finest must face Michigan’s “finest,” including Chris Webber, Jim Abbott and a dumb new football recruit. Rudy wins the game by default, and Jesus is revealed to be boycotting Taco Bell, referencing the ongoing student campaign doing that led a boycott in support of better wages for migrant workers. Only after a Jackson Five medley, a dance routine and a change of heart by Michigan’s coach are things finally resolved. True to Notre Dame football tradition, three-fourths of the way through the game, Officer Joe McCarthy of the NDSP made his standard announcement. This time, though, the message wasn’t about drinking and driving, but instead told fans to stay fired up because Michigan wouldn’t be able to take the heat. Along with the skits, there was a spirited appearance by Crackhead, the Dillon Hall alumnus famous for breaking plates on his head to music during the pep rally. The Dillon Hall pep rally gives the campus a chance to have a laugh at its own expense, as well as that of their football rivals, before the football season moves into high gear and people start to get serious about the games.