It is who we are. . .
by ndoldtown (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

ND football has always meant more than just football to me. It is a symbol of a people and a way of life. That probably comes from my father and a story he never ceased telling. My grandparents were Italian immigrants who came to this country in 1917. Their small neighborhood was comprised of the first Catholics and Italians to move into their town outside of Philadelphia. They were met with intense resistance from the natives. My father and his brothers would often wind up in fights at school and my father's earliest memories were of a cross being burned on the front lawn of his house, of his mother having the children kneeling saying the rosary as it happened while his father sat by the door with his shotgun. This was 1934. My father and his brothers would often ask each other, why do these people hate us so much. They were anxious to prove that they could be as good an American as anyone else.

At around this same time, my father's brother told him "There is this little school in Indiana that plays football -- and its a Catholic school -- and they beat everybody all the time." He saw in Notre Dame, an underdog that validated his experience as an American and showed that his people could stand on equal footing in something in this country. Until his dying day my father, a working class man who just finished high school, followed ND football religiously and felt an incredible closeness to the school and especially to the football team -- what is stood for, the way it did things, and its ultimate success on its own terms. The proudest day of his life was when I went off to Notre Dame. I can never separate Notre Dame football from thougths of my father and the literally millions of people like him and how Notre Dame football was and is a cultural symbol of their values, their strength and their hopes for success combined with loyalty to their faith and their families. These are the people who and Notre Dame football is the institution that made the University's success possible. Pillars, indeed.


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