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Monday, January 7, 2013

3 I Told You So's

There are few things so easily and justifiably hate-able as Notre Dame football.   In a world where fads and brands come and go like the seasons, those that refuse to exit so gracefully become a disappointing reminder of the petulance that often accompanies ignorance.  Every football game Notre Dame plays is a morality play, where the “Irish” play the part of the villainy of modern day entitlement and ill-deserved self-righteousness.  Watching Notre Dame win is like watching the rich and poorly-mannered kid get the girl; like watching Goliath beat David; like watching Justin Beiber upstage the Rolling Stones.  But this season, and the least impressive 12-0 record in the history of college football, has always had a sense of inevitability to it.   You knew, you just knew, that at some point, it had to give; at some point, the luck of a team who’s no more Irish than the good folks in Tuscaloosa had to run out; at some point, there would be a reckoning.  And so there was.  But while I’m not in the habit of dancing on graves, planting a foot on a great and vanquished evil and pumping a fist is exactly the kind of thing I’m about – so here are three reasons why Notre Dame sucks, and why I was right all along

1.         Hijacked Pride.  Nothing about the Notre Dame football you see today is genuine.  Nothing.  The colors (blue and gold)?  Well, you should know by now who had those first (and who still wears them best).  Fighting Irish?  Well depending on where you read it, they got that nickname from either opposing fans, opposing players or the New York Daily News – how’s that for originality?    The legend of Rudy?  Well just ask Joe Montana (who, as it turns out was the last ND quarterback to win a Super Bowl) who has maintained that it just never happened.  QB University?  How are Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen working out in the NFL?  As for their fans, well, I don’t even know where to begin.  The overwhelming majority of Irish fans have never even been on the campus, let alone attended or graduated from the University.  Many of them are Catholic, but that doesn’t explain why they’re not rooting for Boston College, Villanova, or Loyola.  A few are Irish, but they seem like they’d better served rooting for their national soccer team than a bunch of kids who couldn’t tell you the difference between Protestants and Catholics if you gave them cue cards, hints, and three tries at it.  Truth is, there’s more reality in reality television than in any “Irish Pride.”          

2.         Tired Dynasty.  The only thing I can think of which has lived longer off it’s long past glory to get fans to suffer its current utter noxiousness is Star Wars, and while the last great Star Wars movie predated the last great Notre Dame team by five years, George Lucas at least at three shots at it – whereas the “vaunted Fighting Irish” got their first chance to stink up a National Championship game a heady twenty five years after their last.  Seriously, if getting to the final game every two or three decades qualifies as a “dynasty” then we’ve got more college football royalty than we know what to do with.  The worst part of this is, their fans don’t know this.  They’re reliving 1988 like it happened last year, you know like that one guy at your twenty year reunion who was telling old football stories in the hopes of bedding a cheerleader one last time?  Honestly, barely skipping by Pitt and Purdue doesn’t make you a champion, it makes you a middling top 25 team that got some lucky bounces and a few good recruits.  The only thing scary about Notre Dame coming to play your team is the horde of mouth-breathing idiot fans who wouldn’t know sportsmanship if it walked up and slapped them (which isn’t such a bad idea).

3.         Behind the Shine.  The real reason, the best reason, to hate Notre Dame is what lurks behind those glittery helmets and face-painted shamrocks.  Despite the fact that it’s planted smack dab in the middle of small-town Indiana – the kind of place that is just about as “Midwest” as a place can get – Notre Dame is a private school for rich kids who think winning is a birthright, and not something you earn.   Notre Dame in South Bend is like putting a Barney’s in the middle of a WalMart.  But how else can you explain a fan base that legitimately believes that it’s chasing a national title the year after winning 3, 7 and 6 games?  It takes a special kind of entitlement to believe that you’re chasing greatness when you’re chasing Purdue around the field.  The audacity of the ND fan base is exactly what you might expect from a culture where 50% of the nation’s young adults believe they’re in the top 10%.  Notre Dame is the epitome of an all-shine and no-substance culture that generates fame for its own sake – and if you can find a better reason that to hate them, I’d like to hear it.

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Comeuppance, recompense, just desserts – whatever you want to call it, what transpired in the national championship of college football in 2013, was the kind of justice that we all expected, that we all needed after a season of doubt turned into a month of creeping belief, and we all simply couldn’t take any more.  For just a moment, we all stopped believing our own eyes – looked at the statistics and wondered if there just wasn’t enough good left in this broken system to keep an evil empire from assuming the throne.  But as every good story goes, there is always a great fall in store for those whose achievements are built on long-faded reputation, an unwillingness to take on challenges and transparent bravado.  As the great Pat Haney once taught me, so many years ago, it’s about heart, and this team, simply has none.  Because Notre Dame’s is a legacy whose heartbeat has long since been replaced by the echoes of past glory, and for those with the will to fight each day like it’s their last, for those who play with heart, in the end, there will always be victory.  Roll Tide. 


DP '97 said...

Spot on as usual, brother.

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