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Go Blue

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Ok, so I do have a streak of disdain for college football in me. There's just something about enormous herds of fans all wearing the same clothes and drinking a lot of beer that turns me off.

(Why these same things don't seem repulsive in the context of a Colorado Avalanche game is still a mystery to me.)

Ordinarily I couldn't give two shakes about the Michigan football team. Win or lose, I don't care. But this week is slightly different. This week, the Wolverines are playing Notre Dame in the Big House.

I care about this game, but not because Notre Dame is a big Michigan rival. The rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State is even bigger, and I don't give a rat's ass about that -- two enormous midwestern Big Ten schools squaring off against each other on the football field is right up there with the Scott Peterson trial on my list of overhyped "events" that I'd rather ignore. No, the reason I care about the Notre Dame game is that I just can't stand Notre Dame.

When I was a kid, I remember that there were only a few football teams that were always on TV each week. The local teams like the Colorado Buffaloes and the Air Force Falcons were almost always televised, as was the nation's number-one team in the AP poll that week. All of that made sense to me, but I remember being a bit confused about why we in Colorado Springs would always get the Notre Dame game. I mean, they're a school in northern Indiana, for crying out loud. Why should they get national TV coverage when they were ranked number 17? I asked my parents about this, and they told me that maybe it was because so many people across the country identified with Notre Dame -- anyone with Irish ancestors, or anyone who was Catholic.

That's not fair, I thought. Why should the Irish and the Catholics get special treatment? Besides, what kind of a mascot was a "Fighting Irish" anyway? When I was eleven, it was obvious to me that that Notre Dame had one of the lamest mascots out there. Buffaloes were better, but so were Bears, so why couldn't we get the Baylor games or even the UC Berkeley games? I didn't know what a "Crimson Tide" was (still don't), but that sounded a hell of a lot better to me than "Fighting Irish." Ditto for "Huskies," "Seminoles," or even (gulp) "Cornhuskers."

Some childhood prejudices stay with you. I still think there's no good reason to give Notre Dame a national TV contract unless and until they finish the previous season ranked in the top five. I still think their mascot is lame. Especially compared with one of the fiercest mammals, pound-for-pound, in the entire world -- the wolverine. So this week, I'm rooting for Michigan's football team to kick the stuffing out of Notre Dame.

Go Blue!

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Comments

Maybe you can blame Rudy. I'm a michigan fan, that is to say I got the tix the last two years, but it is one of my favorite movies. It speaks to the underdog in all of us. But wait a second. When we were kids, Rudy had not come out yet (although the true story apparently happened when I was an infant, so the legend goes back a ways). maybe it has to do with another movie, involving the Gipper (considering that the man who played him later played the role of President while we were kids, it might be a good explanantion; will we see President Sean Astin in the future). Or maybe it has to do with the special status of Notre Dame. They don't belong to any regional conference, so maybe they can more easily be seen as "America's team" for college football. In any case, they even get special treatment in the BCS (see http://dingletters.blogspot.com/2004/12/uninitiateds-guide-to-bcs.html)
O.K., I'm rambling. See y'all at the game.

Rudy was awful. He didn't overcome anything, he just hung around until they let him participate for one play???? Go Blue!

That one play was his goal, and he achieved it. Frankly, it was almost symbolic. It was his work ethic that allowed him to win over the rest of the players on the team that was his achievement. And don't forget about his academic success. Think about how hard it must have been 30 years ago for a person from a blue collar background with a learning disability to earn a degree from a school of the caliber of Notre Dame (not Harvard or Michigan, but still up there) and he inspired several of his brothers to go to college, something that wasn't on the radar in that family.
So, as much as I like Michigan, and as depressed as I am about today's game (at least one of the refs is a complete idiot), I am a fan of that movie, largely because it is very heavily based on a true story of a person overcoming a great deal to tell the truth.

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