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Echoes won’t wake unless it gets loud

| Monday, September 14, 2015

What is the worst part of being a lunatic Notre Dame football fan? Well, the stadium experience, of course. It sucks. Everybody knows it.

It isn’t hard to look around the national landscape and find oneself drooling with envy when watching the madness of a night game at Death Valley, a rowdy afternoon at the Swamp or the energy that pumps through the screen when Oregon is running wild at Autzen Zoo.

And here we sit, literally, wondering why we can’t have a stadium atmosphere akin to the top ones in the country. When sitting down to talk to people about the issue, many theories come up, but everyone is genuinely upset that ND stadium can’t or won’t rock like the others. Why?

Is it the fact that so many people who pump so much money into the university would rather sit down on a crucial third down defensive play? They pay the big bucks. They get the best seats. If they want to sit and sleepwalk through the excitement, then by God that’s the way it is.

Is it the yellow coats? I had a yellow coat approach me last year during a critical defensive drive and say, “You have to learn how to stand up and sit down with the crowd.” I was the only one in my zip code standing, clapping and screaming. I was actually pleased that my fellow fans weren’t yelling at me to sit down, a normal occurrence for me at ND stadium. Regardless, I ended up being singled out and asked to sit and quiet down. No wonder that these days we lose at home to Northwestern, Syracuse or Southern Florida.

I say if you aren’t committed to going into the stadium and coming out without your voice, don’t go in. Let the people who care more about it go in and get nuts. Can you imagine such a change in culture? What if being loud and on your feet the whole game were actually accepted? What if it were actually encouraged? I challenge anyone reading this to look up a list of lively college football stadiums and find ND anywhere. How cool would it be for recruits in the stands to see the entire stadium, not just the student section, going bonkers the whole time? What if all the little kids going to the games learned how to cheer and behave in this new culture? Imagine a generational transition into the coolest, loudest and toughest place to play in the country. Come on, ND. Big screens and pumping in the first four notes of “Crazy Train” are not enough. People need to feel free to roll in loud and proud, ready to express themselves.

And I’m not endorsing falling down drunks, fights and mayhem. If people are over the line, then the yellow coats should pounce and keep everyone safe. I’m talking about a pride of actually helping your team. In fact, if it were up to me, I’d arrange the stadium exactly like Cameron indoor where the students get the first 20 or 30 rows all the way around the stadium. They have the best energy; it’s their school, so why shouldn’t they get the best seats during their four years? That in turn forces everyone behind them to stand up and cheer. No more yelling at fellow fans to sit down. And spare me the ‘I paid my hard-earned money so I can do what I want’ argument. The only people pushing that should be the fans who refuse to sit down. But it never comes from them. It comes from the same old traditional lame ND crowd who, game after game, year after year, act like they’re in a movie theatre. The ones with no idea of the responsibility that comes with walking through the gates.

Remember the Bush Push game? Now that was crazy in there. Do it like that every week, I say!

So I implore everyone to stand up and let it out this year. Give the team an edge. Go nuts. Help the defense the whole game. Make it a scary proposition for teams to come into our house. How cool would that be?

And maybe, just maybe, that really would wake up the echoes…


David Friend
Sept. 14


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