While cleaning in our basement my daughter found a copy of the 1988 offensive playbook. Two goals (and there were many) of the offense were to gain 250 yards rushing and 175 yards passing in every game. The following was also in the playbook:
Each year we are a new team, with new challenges and new hopes. It will bring its own work, injuries, despair, and heartaches. It will also bring a new opportunity, thrills, joyous movements, and memories.
In today’s world, it is the vogue to be critical. Everyone is a critic. This is especially true of the non-doer or the non-player. Do not let negative people cause you to lose faith.
In a world that hates discipline, we choose direction by it from our own choice. In a world that wants the easiest way, we elect to sacrifice, knowing full well that anything worthwhile must be bought at this price. In a world flooded by aggression, we harness ours into accepted competition.
Being Notre Dame is not easy!
We don’t buy athletes. We don’t cheat at admissions. We don’t wine and dine recruits, nor woo Junior Colleges, or harbor red shirts. What we do is try to enlist young men who love to play the game and love to win.
This is what has built the tradition of yesteryear and makes us a target for all foes. When we win, they claim super athletes -- “Notre Dame gets anybody they want.” If we lose ( and that hasn’t been often), the cry is “we beat the giants -- we’re #1.”
We are not super athletes. We are not giants. We are young men willing to be super in effort, in cooperation, in team play, and in dedication. Winning is fun, if you’ve paid the price. The finest hour of life is in the college years. It is a time to study - to think and pray - “to find out about life!”. It is also a chance -- an opportunity to practice upsetting adversity. Adversity gets all the practice against people who make it easy. It won’t be easy -- but it can be fun.
It will take long hours of practice, meetings, and mental anguish, but we will slug our way through it. Every victory will be a trophy -- every step a lesson in humility and a giant step in evolving to mature manhood.
You cannot lead others or yourself if not ever trained subordinate your own wills for a greater cause. If you have not yielded or bent -- how do you know what it is to ask others to follow, yield, and bend? This is a training ground -- the glorious years ……
The fact that we feel this way and play with great enthusiasm, heart, effort, and teamwork -- is the open secret of Notre Dame’s success! Champions in every way -- work at it every day!
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