Carolyn Hutyra | Monday, September 24, 2012
After years of losses and mediocre seasons, it’s hard to believe that our football team is finally 4-0. During these times I realize how strong and close the Notre Dame community truly is. The way the fans cheer for the team shows how much we all love and support one another. It’s hard to not feel moved when the senior class unveils the Irish flag, when the marching band plays the alma mater and when the student body wears leis in honor of Manti Te’o.
This past weekend we were able to take on the Michigan team and win. This also meant there were a large number of Michigan fans present on our campus, which was definitely a test to the integrity of our students. We had to deal with our stadium being draped in Michigan paraphernalia, a Michigan fan running across campus with his school flag and the back-and-forth comments between the rival teams.
With all that, one Michigan fan spoke of how welcoming Notre Dame fans were. I would like to think that this is the case no matter who we play in football. However, I am often disappointed by the comments I actually hear. So often there are stories of fans harassing each other no matter where they go. Some say this is just a natural part of sports, but I would like to think that Notre Dame students could rise above that.
As a student, I feel blessed to attend such a wonderful university. What sets us apart from the other schools is the Catholic foundation upon which we were founded. I realize that not everyone is religious, but as a member of this university, I feel our students should nonetheless be respectful and courteous.
When Michigan beat us last year, our fans who travelled to the away game were treated poorly. There seems to be a justification for us to do the same to Michigan fans when it is our turn to host a game, but in truth, there is no reason we should do this to them or any other school.
Notre Dame’s academic freedom statement says “the University expects from its staff and students conduct that is truthful, honorable, compassionate, fair, just and charitable.” I dislike having to apologize for the words and behavior of my fellow students. Furthermore, I dislike trying to rationalize how a school can be both so loving and so spiteful.
Eight games remain this season, and a lifetime of games will come after that. I wish our football players the best of luck and our fans grace under pressure, for the winning team is not determined by the comments made in the stands but by the game that is played on the field.
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The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.