Watching the gold medal hockey game this winter between the United States and Canada, I surprisingly found myself pulling for the Canucks. Before you write me off as disloyal, let me explain myself. The United States is the home of all things good; we have the Super Bowl, Las Vegas and a Wal-Mart on every other city block. Olympic hockey is merely an afterthought. We already have so much; winning the gold just wouldn’t have been fair.
Conversely, hockey transcends sports in Canada. It is a way of life, a national passion. Every four years, Canada has the chance to prove to the world that they are the best team on ice. The sport is intertwined with the history of Canada. Fans in Canada are knowledgeable and fervent about their hockey. If it were up to me, the United States would leave hockey to the country and fans that do it best: our neighbors to the north.
In the same way that Canada has hockey, the University of Notre Dame has football. If Notre Dame weren’t a Catholic University, football would certainly be the school’s official religion. Relics of Knute Rockne and Lou Holz are littered throughout campus, constantly reminding students of the unrivaled tradition that they are a part of.
So when Stanford rolled in to campus this past Saturday, I had one thought on my mind: Stanford, leave us football. Notre Dame students matriculate to South Bend from across the country for the privilege of experiencing four years of Irish football. We persevere through inhumane winter winds and rural isolation with the hopes for pigskin triumph. Our students deserve a winning football team. When the universe is in harmony, the Irish obliterate the Cardinal.
Students don’t attend Stanford to be a part of the football program; it takes a real headliner to even sell out a game in Palo Alto. Stanford students go to their university because it is a mainstay at the top of any reputable national ranking of universities. Stanford hardly even takes football seriously. Their band plays on sinks and garbage pails, and their mascot is a tree that appears to be based off the drawings of an over imaginative six year old. The Cardinal never deserves to leave the hallowed grounds of Notre Dame Stadium with a win.
However, Notre Dame still holds a unique place in the collegiate landscape. We have both a prestigious academic reputation as well as a traditionally strong football program. Notre Dame places abundant pride in this distinction. Sure, there may be a few “better” schools out there according to various rankings, but we could always prove our superiority on the football field. Now Stanford is encroaching on our identity, and they don’t even seem to care.
So Stanford, take your sunglasses and textbooks and head back to the California sunshine with a win this time. But as the Kelly era continues in the coming years, please, just leave football to the university and students who do it best.
The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.