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Praise thee, Notre Dame

Lily Banker | Sunday, September 29, 2013

This past Saturday, I made a disturbing discovery. Some of you may have noticed a group of football players leave the field immediately after the game instead of staying and singing. After the game, I found out that this was at the direction of our head coach himself. Coach Brian Kelly has decided that when the football team loses, it will no longer stay and sing the Alma Mater with the student body and fans. 
Immediately after I heard this, a vision popped into my head. After that loss against Oklahoma, what if the entire team had all simply returned up the tunnel instead of staying and singing the Alma Mater? Just thinking about it makes me furious. If there is no Alma Mater to look forward to, what is keeping me from leaving early, especially when a loss is unavoidable? 
Every Notre Dame game I’ve been to, I have refused to leave until after singing the Alma Mater. It is a cleansing moment, a time to reflect not only on the game that was just played but on ourselves as well. The Alma Mater is not about victory. It’s not even about football. The Alma Mater is about solidarity. It is about loyalty to Notre Dame in all its meanings. It doesn’t matter if we win or lose.
When I told a friend about this discovery, he shrugged. “What can we do?” he said, “It’s his decision.” Maybe so, but there are many ways we can let him know how much of a mistake it is.
If you are a player, don’t listen to him. Stay. It’s your choice.
If you are a student, don’t support this decision. By all means, boo the players who turn their backs on you.
If you are an alumnus, spread the word. You don’t want a coach who will sever his team’s connection to the fans.
Finally, in the words of one of our very own football players: Win or lose, we play for each other. Win or lose, we cheer for each other. Win or lose, we sing with each other.
Lily Banker
Lyons Hall
Sept. 29