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Band missing out on bowl

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I would like to start by saying how honored I am to be a part of the Notre Dame Marching Band Tradition. I have faithfully practiced, performed and cheered on the Irish for four years. Not everyone makes the band, so I understand I am entitled to nothing. Being part of a tradition larger than myself is enough.

The most amazing part of this year was our storied trip to USC. It took a lot of donations and a lot of manpower in planning the trip, and I am forever in debt to all those who put effort into it. It was awesome. The band lived up to expectations and beyond: we out-performed and out-classed the USC band without question. After a long weekend, we were exhausted. And the Irish fans, in a foreign stadium, appreciated it.

What, then, am I upset about? How classless our team was. I was embarrassed about the fight before the game even started, and even more embarrassed by the lack of cohesiveness our players demonstrated on the field. But yet, the band never quit. We kept on cheering. The worst part is that I didn’t even know this was going to be my last time in uniform; after all, we were bowl eligible, and if the band means so much to Notre Dame Tradition, as I’m constantly told by alumni, I imagine we could scrape some money together to send us to cheer the team.

But we’re not going to go. It is the first time in the band’s history that it will not follow the team to a bowl game.

A week ago, people were willing to spend $20 million to fire Weis. We are now sending our team to Hawaii. Sure, we get a payout for the bowl, so the team can go. But we would get a payout for a game in the continental U.S. too. Father Jenkins wrote in an e-mail to the Notre Dame community on Dec. 1, “I ask our academic and administrative leaders to do more with existing resources in order to reduce expenditures,” in order to, “maintain our unwavering commitment to Notre Dame’s core mission.” We’d have more money from that payout to keep if we weren’t flying overseas. But we chose a bowl game that does not do that. They get to go to Hawaii.

And in “cutting costs,” we will not spend a large sum to reward the group that never failed on the football field. I don’t get the privilege of cheering on the team one last time. I understand. It’s a lot of money. It’s a failing economy. Fine, I’ve hung up my uniform. I am a band alumna now. I only ask one last thing:

That the money not spent to reward our band for their devotion with one last game, will go toward something that makes me proud of my University, not towards recruiting cocky players who don’t exhibit Irish spirit and pride, not towards sending our players to extravagant bowl game locations and not towards firing coaches because we’re about instant gratification, but toward something that might truly reflect “Notre Dame’s core mission.”

Valerie A. Allen


off campus

Dec. 9