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Tradition Never Graduates

Tae Andrews | Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Maybe it’s Touchdown Jesus. Maybe it’s the leprechaun. Or maybe it’s just something alluring about those gorgeous gold helmets. Whatever it is, there can be no denying that there is something special that separates Notre Dame from a myriad other programs dotting the college football landscape.

“Tradition Never Graduates” is a behind-the-scenes documentary following the 2006 Fighting Irish football season. Beyond the gridiron action itself, the film attempts to answer a question about what exactly makes Notre Dame so unique. Created by Notre Dame graduate Charlie Eberson, the film delves inside the hype and hysteria of the 2006 team and tails some Domers who bleed blue and gold.

The camera follows the shenanigans of Kevin Brau, last year’s mascot, as he bounces around on and off the field and attempts to whip the Irish faithful into a frenzy. It also tracks the progress of the Notre Dame marching band its percussive drumline, and of course, the master of ceremonies himself, Charlie Weis.

There’s something a tad nostalgic about watching the film and seeing the late and great Brady Quinn raining six-pointers on opposing secondaries, or watching Jeff Samardzija vault into the end zone past a UCLA defender as Notre Dame Stadium erupts into mass hysteria. Of course, like last season itself, the film is a rollercoaster, soaring to ecstatic highs during improbably come-from-behind wins and sinking to very low lows after suffering drubbings at the hands of far superior opponents. But, throughout it all, the loyalty to this football team, this nation and this university remains the same, whether it’s the student section inside Notre Dame Stadium or the roving Ramblers who made the trips out to Southern California or down to Louisiana for matchups with USC and LSU.

Regardless of the numbers posted in the win and loss columns, there remain certainties about every Notre Dame football game. There will be legions of Irish faithful showing their colors in the student section, wearing their hearts on their sleeves and fist-pumping and yelling in unison. There will be the finest band in all the land on the field, featuring a drum line loud enough to pop your eardrums. And at the end of every home game, win or lose, every Notre Dame student will wrap his or her arms around the people standing next to them and sing the alma mater while swaying to and fro.

In other words, everyone here drinks the Kool Aid, and it’s green. So love thee some Notre Dame and check out “Tradition Never Graduates.”