by Gator77 (2005-11-09 01:07:26)
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  In reply to: The broken link: What has ND's football tradition meant to you?  posted by Board Ops

I did not grow up an a Notre Dame family and tradition and I chose to attend the University sight unseen. When making my decision I did research about the school, its history, its traditions and its leaders. One of the quotes that I read at that time has stood out to me for those thirty-plus years:

"If all men fail me, there is one treasury that is always full, that of our Most Holy Lady. When this school shall grow a bit more,I shall raise her aloft so that, without asking, all men shall know why we have succeeded here. To that Lovely Lady, raised high on a dome, a golden dome, men may look and find the answer"

Father Sorin

That quote, that symbol told me right away what Notre Dame is all about. To the uninitiated that was a powerful message. But how does that great symbol translate into everyday life? How does the fabric of a place get woven from such a symbol?

I came to learn in my time at ND that that inanimate symbol comes to life and breathes through the concept of community and those traditions that support it. The community engendered through worship and prayer, the community present in the academic interactions with instructors and fellow students, the community present in sharing lives with others in residence halls and student organizations and, yes, the community that is most visibly demonstrated in the gathering and sharing in our athletic teams' efforts.

Each of these community-building traditions of Notre Dame played a part in helping me stake out my place in the world, helped me define the kind of person I wanted to be, helped me develop the kind of standards that I wanted to hold myself to, helped me identify those ideals that I would not compromise.

What does Notre Dame football tradition mean to me? Many things, but nothing greater than a living, breathing example of how we should strive to keep our ideals as we seek to achieve success in life. What better example is there for the inherent rightness of striving for excellence and doing so the right way, through creativity and hard-work rather than through cutting corners, settling for just okay, or achieving victory at all costs?

I choose to look at Notre Dame's football tradition and our adherence to the standards set by our predecessors as a living extension of the symbol of Our Lady on the Dome... Father Sorin's great dream. When we are faithful to our tradition I think of our program as a beacon to a cynical world that yes, you may beat us, but you are going to have to bring your best because we believe in and practice the things we stand for.

What does Notre Dame's football tradition mean to me? To answer that I have to first say that everything I am, everything I have and everything I believe in was molded by Notre Dame and its traditions...and the deep-rooted tradition of a football team striving for excellence was every bit a part of that molding. ND's historic vision of championship football has provided me with the inspiration that it is worth doing correcty if it is worth doing at all. It has shown me that there is no substitute for hard work, that cutting corners is not an option in business and in life. It has lifted me when I am surrounded by the cultural choir that insists that something won't work, can't be done, is doomed to fail. It is a reminder of the most important lesson there is...strive for excellence in all things because you will be better for the striving.

The history and tradition of Notre Dame football is, for me, part of the metaphor of living a good life... a metaphor I learned at Notre Dame those many years ago. Every day I pray that my son at ND will find the same lessons I did. And yes, to understand the importance of a football team striving to achieve excellence against all odds is one of those lessons. I want him to learn that success is nothing to be embarrassed about if it was achieved honestly. There are too few of those lessons being taught in today's world at large and I don't want ND to lose what took others so long to achieve. We are who we were and there is nothing wrong with that.


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