Sunday, October 6, 2013

Notre Dame Culture

As the Notre Dame football team prepares to get beat by play Arizona State tonight, I can't help but be reluctant to watch or listen or even care.  Growing up, Notre Dame football was an important part of Saturday afternoons in the fall.  I have fond memories of hearing my family discuss all the ins and outs of the team and then analyze each game.  My dad would listen on the radio a lot because he didn't care for the TV announcers.  When Lou Holtz was coach, in my adolescent mind, he was the BEST.  Most everyone loved him and he was successful - everything a coach and their fans dream of.  He even took the team to a National Championship in 1988. 

When my husband reads this, he will probably be disappointed.  He no doubt knows how I feel, but I try to keep it fairly quiet because of his longstanding emotional admiration for this team.  He grew up heavily invested in Notre Dame sports, especially football.  He and his mom will still talk after the games to share their analysis, opinions and recommendations. 

In the past few years, Notre Dame has expanded their efforts to market themselves.  The year that Obama was nominated, they were the first university to invite him to be the commencement speaker which caused a huge uproar the likes I had not seen in this city before. 

In the years following that event, Notre Dame has been questioned regarding their true standing in terms of the Catholic faith in many ways - too many to list here.  Thankfully, there are those working tirelessly to make sure the Catholic tradition remains true on their campus.

Back to football - since Lou Holtz, there have been some tumultuous years with coaches and players, and it seems the whole program is on a slippery slope. 

At the end of the Michigan State game, the coach was talking to the news reporter on the field after the game and when the students and team started singing the Alma Mater (a tradition which was started in 2006), the coach didn't bother to stop his interview to be with his team...he just kept talking. 

The Notre Dame athletic director decided to change the 'policy' regarding the singing of the Alma Mater in 2011 to determine that it would only be sung after a win.  Even though they have experienced a few losses this year already, the students were still singing at the end of those games.  The students have recently spoken about their disappointment in the above policy change.  I think the administration is missing the point completely.  The song honors Our Lady and since she is the patron saint of the university, the student body and football team should come together to honor Our Lady at the end of every game no matter the outcome. 

We found out yesterday on campus that last week the coach cancelled a longstanding tradition of the team going to Mass before a game.  Turning away from their origins in the Catholic faith is at the root of some current Notre Dame issues (in my humble opinion) and the slope continues to get more slippery.

I'll get off my soapbox now.....

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