I read Ryan Peters’ “Not a serious program” column that appeared the week after the Marshall game. As an attendee at that game, I would like to make a couple comments relative to what is happening in the stadium during games. I agree with him that ND Stadium IS NOT INTIMIDATING. It once was. I am a 1970 graduate. I have been in the stadium many years since. I believe it was in 1967 that legendary Southern California coach, John McKay, stated that Notre Dame Stadium was the worst place to play because of the noise level. That noise was created by human voices. We didn’t have a loudspeaker blaring electronic noise between plays. We were so loud the opposing team couldn’t run plays. As another example, several years ago I was sitting in the lower level in the southeast part of the stadium mixed in amongst Pitt fans. As the teams were warming up, a number of Pitt fans were having a great time carrying on about how Pitt was going to maul us. With the “kickoff cheer” and the subsequent roar from the student body and fans in the stadium, they looked shocked and surprised. They sat down, and there was hardly a whimper out of them for the rest of the game.
What is different? I submit that the use of electronic noise and piped in “cheering” has taken the student body, the fans and the band out of the game. I was at the Marshall game and was appalled at the lack of noise support from Notre Dame fans. I don’t believe the fault lies totally with them, however. The electronic noise took them out of the game from the start. While I like the lead up to the opening kickoff with Kathy Richardson and the Dropkick Murphy’s, it needs to be timed effectively so that the student body can let the opposition know it is a force. From the opening kickoff on, it seemed that the electronic noise was piped in between every play. It not only took the student body and fan cheers out of the game, the electronic noise also stepped on the announcer and the referees. In short, it became the game.
If Notre Dame wants to have an intimidating stadium, it needs to put the noise back into the student body, the band and its fans. We were constantly reminded in the weekly run-up to a home game that we were a part of the Notre Dame “team,” and that we needed to let the opponents know we were there. We believed our participation had an effect. I think it did. Opposing teams were intimidated. Our players told us that and thanked us.
If Notre Dame wants to fix the noise in the stadium, fix the electronics.
On another matter, we had first time guests with us. I was honored and excited to show them the campus, traditions such as the “Trumpets in the Dome” and take them to the Convo to the upper-level sports history displays. Even though both activities were promoted in pre-game materials and the game program, “Trumpets under the Dome” was a whimper by the statute of Sacred Heart, and the Condo was locked down so that no athletic displays could be visited. An attendant told us it was by order of the University. So much for that.
David A. Redle
class of 1970
The views in this letter to the editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.