The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Rally reform needed for attendance increase

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, October 11, 2006

After reading the articles about no motivation last weekend for the Stanford game, I fully agree about the pep rally comments. I think that Siegfried President Tom Martin said it best: “Pep rallies are catered to the public.” Tom is right; they are. Students are forced to arrive extremely early, not allowed to bring anything with them, and recite the same cheers over and over and over again. I have been coming to pep rallies since freshman year and they have not changed one bit except for the fact that we do not do that stupid clap thing that we did when Tyrone Willingham was the coach. I think that this is one problem that should be addressed: the fact that it seems to be more catered to the visitors rather than the student body.

Another problem I think with the current pep rally system is the separation of dorms, the “Balkanization of Notre Dame.” In my honest opinion, from Sunday through Thursday, dorm rivalries are alright, but on Friday and Saturday, you are a student at Notre Dame and a representative of Notre Dame, not Zahm or Keenan, or any other dorm on campus. I think that students should wear The Shirt to the pep rallies and bring the towels that Coach Weis gave us for Penn State and yell your head off like the game is going on. Cheer with your fellow students, not against them because they may live in another dorm. It may sound weak, but come on, I think it is ridiculous that at a pep rally, instead of cheering for Notre Dame, you are cheering against rival dorms.

My father went here and graduated back in the 1970s. Back then, the pep rallies were held in Stepan and were basically riots: people throwing toilet paper, band playing, coaches and team yelling at the fans to cheer louder, you get the idea. Today, we have MCs who tell a little story, then pom squad and cheerleaders, then the band, then the players and coaches walk out, and then they speak, then they leave, then the band plays, then it is over. In a nutshell, the pep rallies are the same every week.

I propose this: move the pep rallies back to Stepan. Stepan has no seats, hence nobody can sit down. Stepan is also smaller, so it would be louder, and loud noises excite people. Let in students and crazed fans only, everybody else who wants to sit down can go to the Joyce Center and watch it on screens from cameras inside Stepan. Have NDSP on hand, but in a state-school-type capacity. What I mean by this is crowd-control only. The police should not be there to wage war on our fun. They should be there to monitor everything and make sure the students do not fight or burn couches, etc.

Let us drink for crying out loud.

At other universities where I have attended pep rallies, they will tell you to finish your beer.

Stop citing kids. It’s college. Have no MCs at all; have the Leprechaun introduce the team, band, everyone. Other than the players and coaches, the Leprechaun should be the only guy with a microphone.

Have everybody wear The Shirt and bring the green towels. Get the band in fast and keep playing; let the pom squad and cheerleaders in and dance, then bring in the team: make it like it used to be, create a tailgating, party atmosphere. We should not have to spend time in the pep rallies yelling at people to stand up.

Attendance should not be decreasing, it should be increasing. Tossing out free shirts or providing incentives or some silly trophy is not going to make people decide to show up. The entire system itself must be changed.

Pat Rigney



Oct. 9