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Commending school spirit, band

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, September 26, 2006

It isn’t just about winning. College football is about school spirit. What sets Notre Dame’s spirit apart from other schools is its emphasis on community; not just Notre Dame’s, but that of the world beyond.

The Fighting Irish football team [properly] remains one of the great meeting places for that community. It brings together students and alumni (including the subway kind) and provides an event to celebrate their shared experience. Whether it is expressing pride for the University, countering anti-Catholic bigotry or just having something to cheer for, football is part of the Notre Dame experience; it is part of believing that the world is bigger than just “me.”

Those who would walk out when it isn’t going well do not understand. Both as individuals and as communities, we all have pride, and we all suffer falls. Those who abandon the collective when the group suffers are not truly members. By insulating themselves from the fall, they show they care only about “me.” That is not the Notre Dame way.

I am not an alum, not even the subway kind, nor am I Catholic. Having gone to school in the Big Ten, I sharpened my stereotypical dislike for Notre Dame over the years, only to have that stereotype shattered both watching football games in South Bend and attending my wife’s class reunion. There I learned that Notre Dame is not merely about winning, it is about community – not just its own, but the world beyond. That is something to be immensely proud of, even when the breaks are beating the boys. Stay to the end. Sing the alma mater. Don’t be “me.” Be Notre Dame.

David Beach

San Francisco, CA

Sept. 22