I’m fired up about tonight’s National Championship game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide (which sounds more like an environmental hazard than a mascot).
Given my last comment, I guess it’s not too hard to guess who I’m rooting for in this one (the title of this blog post is also probably helpful).
As I’ve watched the analysts prepare for the big game, I’ve noticed a few things that compel me to set the record straight.
There seems to be some attitude out there that this is a contest between the Golden Dome country club school and a hardscrabble gritty working class southern school. On Facebook, someone even describes it as the Golden Domers versus the Mobile Homers. Since Notre Dame is in my home state, I feel compelled to set the record straight.
Much of the history of Notre Dame is anything but elitist. Instead, it’s very working class and inspiring. Robert King wrote a piece yesterday in the Indianapolis Star which describes the early challenges of Notre Dame Football, particularly anti-Catholic prejudice, which made even finding an opponent difficult. Evidently, the Notre Dame Football program was forced to travel great distances to find opponents in the mostly Protestant Midwest. King even describes a riot that broke out between Notre Dame students and members of the Ku Klux Klan in 1924. Eventually, the perseverance of the Notre Dame Football program became a source of pride and national unity for Catholics across America.
It’s kind of ironic that some people are trying to characterize tonight’s game in this manner since when it comes to football these last few years, it’s been the University of Alabama (when it’s not other SEC teams) who is the Goliath in college football. Winning builds on itself, so Alabama gets great recruiting classes then wins National Championships then gets more great recruiting classes. Notre Dame, on the other hand, has struggled the last few years to build its program back to its former greatness. Tonight, they’ll be David to Alabama’s Goliath.
With all this commentary, you might start to think I view myself as something of an expert. Actually, I don’t even like football that much. I’m a huge basketball fan. Nevertheless, I appreciate all sports. Tonight’s contest represents everything I love about sports—the spirit, physical, and emotional contact that makes sports fun to watch.
So tonight, skip Housewives from Hell or whatever you usually watch on Monday night, buy a case of beer (or your favorite 18-year-old scotch if you actually happen to be one of those elitists), gather your friends, and enjoy one of the greatest college sporting events in America (until March Madness of course).
Go Irish! Roll the Tide!
In case you wonder how little I really know about football, check out my appearance on The Colbert Report.