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Redemption within reach

Tae Andrews | Wednesday, September 12, 2007

For us members of the senior class, Notre Dame football has been a bumpy, pothole-filled ride for the past four years.

First there was the upset of Michigan during our first home game, an exorbitant high matched only by the ineptitude of the Ty era, in which the spirit was Willingham, but the football was well, weak.

Gluttons for gridiron punishment and Irish faithful that we are, we have suffered through hirings, firings and hours of hearing Mark May’s blithering, bashing Notre Dame and predicting terrible starts for the Irish.

Then came Charlie Weis, and we had heroes again. We had Darius walking over enemy linebackers and Brady Quinn raining spirals on opposing secondaries and Jeff Samardzija snagging six-pointers.

Now, with the Brady Bunch gone and having been stung by the Yellow Jackets and bitten by the Nittany Lions, we nearly had to change Touchdown Jesus’ moniker to Field Goal Jesus – and would have – after Game 2 were it not for the first-quarter heroics of cornerback Darrin Walls, who intercepted pick-prone Penn State quarterback Anthony Morelli before slipping, sliding and ultimately taking said pick to the house for our first touchdown of the year.

Well, now it’s time to take it to the house inside the disquieting and discomfiting confines of the Big House.

As a younger, skinnier and bright-eyed freshman, fresh off the airplane from Albany, N.Y., I quickly learned a few things about how things work ’round here.

Avoid LaFortune on Bun Run nights. Don’t sit down during football games. Hate Michigan.

I even bought a very clever shirt which expressed the campus-wide distaste for U of M by switching around a few choice letters. And within one week of my arrival here, Stanford Hall upperclassmen taught me a decidedly different version of Michigan’s “Hail to the Victors” fight song.

As a fairly peaceful person, there are few things in this world that I despise, but that which I hate, I hate fervently. Death Eaters. The Irish Rover. Cats. Major universities from the state of Michigan. Canker sores. Boston-area safety schools.

Nearly half the things on that list are opposing football schools we still have the opportunity to kick in the shins, starting with the suddenly-toothless version of this year’s Wolverines.

For pride. For honor. For redemption.

A victory Saturday will make the whole season a success, regardless of the remaining wins and losses, and send us seniors out into “the real world” feeling satisfied.

Having had the privilege (or would it be the misfortune?) of making the trip out to Ann Arbor two years ago, seeing her rather unladylike behavior and watching the Irish defeat that pack of mangy rodents, I can attest that beating Michigan is the greatest of all collegiate emotions.

Let’s expose the Big House as the cesspool of drunks and clowns it is. Let’s turn Ann Arbor into Pick City, Michigan.

Let’s prove which school has the best fight song in the nation and make lamenting losers out of the so-called “Victors Valiant.”

Love thee Notre Dame. Hate thee Michigan.