I like to keep up with all the new sports we have on campus, and learn to be an informed fan of all our teams. Of course football will always have pride of place in my heart–that was a glorious November 23rd in 1887 when we played our first game. I was thrilled not so much by the athleticism of the competition, as by the obvious earning power of a spectator sport. At that moment I found myself in the uncomfortable position of having to buy out of a little pyramid scheme that Montgomery Meigs was running with Civil War pension funds–I’ll never forgive Bill “I Think I Blessed Him at Gettysburg” Corby for getting me into that one. Football also tickled my fancy because it provided an excellent thumb in the eye for our contemptible proto-rival, Michigan. That dream will never die, but if we don’t pick up a victory over the Wolverines this fall, someone may have to.
Baseball was also right there with football in my early affections. I embraced baseball as part of my two-armed bear hug of American culture. My native France may have given the world tennis, but baseball is America’s game–besides I could sell more home-brewed hooch at a baseball game than at a tennis match. And anything that makes that English sissy-play called cricket look like effete costume drama ranks high in this Frenchman’s estimation.
I’ve never feared progress and new developments. Basketball seemed a little…what’s the word…panicky when I first watched it. But over time, it grew on me like a bright green carnation. And while the whole “lady sports” thing came as something of a shock to me, I’ve jumped on the bandwagon with both feet. The more the Mary-er.
So my most recent discovery is hockey. I suppose I should warm to it instinctively, since it came from Canada, just like a good chunk of the CSCs. And the fans seem to be a rough crowd that likes its drink…just like a good chunk of the CSCs. Our hockey lads got my attention when we started building that Ice Palace for them. At first, I didn’t understand why we needed such a structure when our fair Northern Indiana climate freezes the lake–and everything and everyone else–for a solid four months (St. Mary’s Lake, not the one we boil with the power-plant sluice). But I figured if Paris is worth a Mass, and the hockey team is worth a palace, then the sport must be worth my attention. My assessment: Hell of a game–kind of like football on ice with cudgels. As for the Ice Palace, I just cannot bring myself to call it Compton Ice, because I’m fairly certain that’s a brand of malt liquor favored by USC fans.
Thus, like all my loyal sons and daughters, I love all my sports equally, though football will always be my eldest child. But don’t say football put Notre Dame on the map. I put Notre Dame on the map–by bamboozling the federal government into believing that a couple of ramshackle huts in the woods constituted an actual city needing a post office…but that’s a story for another time.
Yours in Notre Dame,