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What are we fighting for?

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What are we fighting for … To be hated again? I have read with interest the various articles, blogs, viewpoints over the past several weeks with great fervor. Articles about snowballs, coaches and bowl games have captivated my attention even as an alum many miles from the university. I, like many, have had my moments of angst and frustration with the recent events surrounding the football program. Why so passionate, why so interested? Whether we like it or not, the football program gives America a glimpse of what Notre Dame is all about.

Football does not define the University to those of us who know it and love it. But for good or bad, college football is a passion that brings us together and challenges us on how we examine many aspects of our university. The national media also love to hate Notre Dame which only fuels our passion too.

Notre Dame football is a window to the world, on what Notre Dames stands for. And right now, with these recent events, the media coverage and our own negativity filling the airwaves, I think ND should take a step back to see what we are fighting for. Is it really all about wins and losses or being in contention for the BCS?

Snowballs, humiliating losses, bowl game choices and the reaction of the Notre Dame community all make me wonder where humility and wisdom have gone among us who love Notre Dame. Maybe we should take this opportunity to learn from those who dislike this program so much, the Notre Dame haters.

Notre Dame football has many haters. Notre Dame is hated and often perceived as arrogant because, in the past the football program won despite having high academic standards, turned down bowl games because they interfered with finals or Christmas, never failed to recognize those who came before and understood that The Lady on the Dome is what they “were fighting for.” This was humility and not arrogance. Humility would put away our 5 star status, our super bowl rings, our snowballs, and our own interests and helped us realize that only together can Notre Dame achieve something bigger than ourselves.

So where is ND football today, how do we regain the humility? ND haters are upset by Notre Dame’s wisdom. The wisdom that allowed Notre Dame to not compromise on high academic standards, accept bowl bids with a mediocre record, or compromise Christmas. ND had the wisdom to see the impact of our decisions before we made them. Wisdom that comes from experience and cannot be expected from college students sitting on a pile of snow or players asked to plan a bowl destination.

I do not totally fault the students for throwing snow which should have been shoveled or football players choosing a bowl destination based on sunshine, “beautiful women”, or their desire to return so to get ready for NFL scouts in senior bowl games.

However, wisdom should come from there coach and administrators. The wisdom to see the difficulty of leaving behind their classmates (especially the band) and their own families who will not be able to attend; to not consider the past history of not playing on Christmas Eve or Christmas; the need to practice during final exams; picking a later bowl game that would allow more practice which was the reason for accepting a bowl bid at 6-6; playing on another team’s home field when there is a huge need for a win for this program which hasn’t won a bowl game since many of the players were in kindergarten. Where is the wisdom in this bowl decision?

BCS consideration is important but not nearly important as Notre Dame seeking the humility and wisdom which has separated us from every other football program in the country. What are we fighting for? To be hated again.

Mick Connors


Dec. 8