Saturday, September 1, 2007

God's own team

Notre Dame began their season against the rambling wrecks of Georgia Tech. The first play was initially a bad call against Notre Dame. A fumble was manufactured, but on video review it was clearly not. The ball was returned.

Football is a brutal game with many aficionados. Many view it with metaphors and lessons positive for life. Now bad calls often stand*, so justice is not a football principle. A good and fortunate team must be able to survive one or, even, two bad calls a game. Only success counts, not the manner, in which, it is gained. Football is not really a christian exemplar.

Notre Dame is God's own team, never-the-less. In big time football there are only two catholic teams: Boston College, S.J., and Notre Dame. While many who have only a passing interest in football do not recognize the former, they certainly know the latter.

Before Al Smith's loss ('28) and to Kennedy's win ('60), Notre Dame was the cause to root for. The athletic pursuits and heroics were followed by a catholic multitude in papers and on radio throughout the nation. Frank Leahy placed the crushing victory on practically all opponents and that sort of dominance, really, upset those who did not like mackerel snapping Notre Dame. That sort of play and that sort of reaction pleased the followers of God's own team to no end. A dear professor of history, Carl Gustavson, commented on that time period of Notre Dame's dominance, he wasn't pleased. I also remember a Hemingway story where a nun was listening to the radio. Many people remember the heyday, Oklahoma and Army knew their elevens.

I didn't recognize to the degree that anti-catholic bigotry existed, until I came to university and in what instances it freely ran. I was in a large common room watching a televised game (Notre Dame against Penn State, I believe) and heard a small barrage of stupid, spiteful, hateful and ridiculous racist (apparently having black players is one of the ignoble ways that Notre Dame cheats) statements against God's own team and the one true church. At those moments, there began for me, during any play where Notre Dame is not successful -- emotional pain. I want to see Notre Dame win every game, preferably easily, and the more this rankles the bigots, the better.
At this moment the rambling wrecks of Georgia Tech have engineered a crushing of Notre Dame at Notre Dame. On to Penn State for redemption.
*cf. presidential elections of 2000 & 2004

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