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Back in Black

Tae Andrews | Monday, November 19, 2007

Birds circled high above Notre Dame Stadium yesterday against a bleak and dreary autumn sky as the Griffins of Stanford Hall took on the Knights of Keenan. Icy winds ripped through the hallowed monument as a dedicated flock of rabid Griffins gathered below, braving the elements to voice their support for team and dorm.

Trash and debris from Saturday’s varsity home finale littered the stands, setting the stage for what turned out to be a nasty, grimy grudge match against Keenan. This was smash mouth football. This was no-guts-no-glory gridiron. This was payback for a hall that has spent far too long in the shadow of its brother dorm.

Stanford Hall has a chant that goes “Who’s in the house tonight? Stanford! Who’s in the house tonight? Stanford! Stanford’s in the house oh-my-God, oh-my-God, Stanford’s in the house oh-my-God.” On Sunday, the Griffins struck the fear of God into the cowering hearts of the Knights in the biggest of houses, Notre Dame Stadium.

Keenan fans slunk in late with their heads down and left early like beaten puppies, whimpering with their tails hanging between their legs. They might as well have stayed home. In the past, Keenan would undoubtedly have found a way to thwart Stanford, relying on its usual mix of trickery and underhanded technique. But not on this day.

A rowdy, raucous group of Stanford Hall residents poured into Notre Dame Stadium, sending echoes reverberating throughout the concrete monolith and generally causing an ill ruckus.

This was Stanford Hall football. And the Griffins would not be denied.

The Griffins descended upon the Knights like the fierce mythological creatures for which they are named, shredding them limb from limb and leaving only carrion for scavengers to pick at and bones to bleach in the winter sun. The black-and-green clad Griffins left Keenan black and blue, broken and bitter as they trudged off the frozen, torn-up tundra of Notre Dame Stadium’s field in defeat.

These were not your father’s Griffins. These were Griffins decked out in intimidating black and green uniforms. These were Griffins with swagger and verve, not to mention electric playmakers such as David Costanzo, Tregg “Lil T” Duerson, Matt “House of Pain” Templemire and Rob “Ruthless” Huth.

Duerson, at running back, punched through the Knights’ armor and scored a first half touchdown in what would ultimately be the decisive score in the game. Dynamic cornerback Chris Gill sealed the Knights’ fate with an interception of Keenan quarterback Brian Costello, racing to the Stanford sideline, where teammates mobbed him and he reveled in the adulation of hundreds, if not thousands of Stanford supporters.

Ever since the University constructed the joint residence hall building in 1957, the two dorms have gone in different directions. Keenan immediately set about becoming the University’s poster children for toolbaggery. A dorm full of dastardly do-gooders, Boy Scouts and boy wonders, Keenanites spend much of their time traipsing around in neatly pressed shirts, popped collars and impeccable hair parts.

When it gets warm outside, you can usually count on Keenan men to gather on the quad, clad in their signature muscle cut-off tees, preening, flexing and backslapping each other, to put on a public bench press display show. Sunday’s game showed Keenan’s true colors, exposing them as a bunch of dorm-land Derek Zoolanders.

Stanford men, on the other hand, have carried a reputation for being a walk on the wild side. Stanford men have long been known for their belligerent and boisterous behavior. This is the same dorm which once had a number of its residents arrested during a DisOrientation party. These are the Irishmen your mother warned you about. If Notre Dame dorms were X-Men, Keenan would be Cyclops. Stanford would be Wolverine.

It’s common knowledge on North Quad that Stanford Hall is the best male dorm on campus. What the Cinderblock Palace of Love lacks in facilities and commodities, it makes up for with its athletics, lack of lame factor and sheer number of ResLife appointments.

And lately, we’ve even beaten Keenan at its own game: Stanford Hall took home the overall Hall of the Year award for 2006.

So as you stew in the bile of your defeat, Keenan, and nibble at that rather large slice of humble pie we cut for you, as you go to Mass inside what is now our chapel and walk around what is now the property of one Stanford Hall, let this ruminate in your thoughts.

You know what they say about payback.