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Do not justify mediocrity

| Friday, December 3, 2004

I really hate how Tyrone Willingham’s firing is being spun into a blight on the University’s character. Somehow, by firing a coach, Notre Dame has abandoned class, abandoned honor, abandoned integrity and in fact abandoned any cares about our football program and players other than that they win? Winning and class are not mutually inconsistent. I’m sure we’ll expect our next coach to have class, too.

But winning is a big part of the job, and that’s exactly the way it should be. We shouldn’t sacrifice classiness, dignity and honor. But why should we use those as a crutch, forcing us to accept mediocrity? If you lose a competition, it’s good to be able to reflect on that loss and say “at least I lost with dignity.” It may even be good to think “better to lose with dignity than to win poorly.” But have we now reached the point where we would rather lose with dignity than win at all?

That is a defeatist attitude that accepts mediocrity and attempts to justify mediocrity as good. That attitude prevents a realistic assessment of problems and solutions. And I guarantee you, that attitude is not held by the people we revere, the people who accomplish their goals, the people who change the world. Instead, it is the attitude of the self-righteous loser who doesn’t want to change.

Lou Holtz once told us not to lower our standard. I remember people who wore that shirt around campus, proudly bearing its message – we should set our goals high and never compromise them. Yet now, it seems that some people are not only eager to lower the standard, but they don’t even want the standard anymore. That, more than any of the football team’s losses this year, is a disgrace.

Mike Romano


class of 2004

Dec. 2