Welcome back to my series on beloved Notre Dame “parody” twitter accounts. This week I had a chance to sit down and talk with FirstDownMoses.
The anonymous “loyal son” running Moses’ tablet began it during the 2012 football season to motivate the team with some good old-fashioned Biblical zeal. Since then, it has expanded to support all Notre Dame students and teams — all this while maintaining a clean, classy and humorous dialogue between athletes, squirrels and other members of the Notre Dame family.
Lisa: Today I have the honor of speaking with Notre Dame’s very own prophet-in-residence, “First Down Moses”. Thanks for coming, Moses!
Moses: Happy to be here, Lisa! Zipporah wanted me to clean the house today, so your request was actually timed perfectly.
Lisa: Are you a little nervous about sitting down for your first interview in several millennia?
Moses: [chuckles] Am I nervous? Was I nervous when my own people wanted to stone me? Was I nervous when Pharaoh was yelling about “playing with the big boys”? WAS I NERVOUS WHEN THE LORD OF HOSTS–
Lisa: [coughs politely]
Moses: –sorry, not your fault. I can get fired up about these things.
Lisa: Let’s start from the beginning. What made you decide to become a campus resident in 1962?
Moses: Well, it all started with Vatican II’s call to ecumenism around that time. The Lord and I have been pretty tight from day one, but we felt it would be even better if His Son and I had a more visible presence together. So in the “spirit of Vatican II”, we decided that hunkering down along the walk to the Stadium was the best idea. I can’t put a concrete figure on its ecumenical success, but sales of Notre Dame postcards seem to have skyrocketed since then!
Lisa: You’ve chosen to communicate with the Notre Dame family primarily through Twitter. That was unimaginable back in 1962. What do you think of social media?
Moses: I’ll admit that it’s difficult to squeeze coherent thoughts into a 140-character window, especially when my previous writing experience consists entirely of a little 79,000-word work known as the Torah—perhaps you’ve heard of it. But after a few failed attempts to gather everyone on campus for meetings (like in the good old days), Zipporah finally convinced me to upgrade to a slightly higher-tech Tablet than the one(s) I already had. You have to go to where the people are nowadays, and I quickly discovered and engaged the passionate and knowledgeable ND fan base on Twitter. Special shout out to the #BrickBros!
Lisa: Given your view of the Stadium (and keeping in mind the Commandment against lying), have you and/or Touchdown Jesus ever directly influenced the outcome of a game?
Moses: Ah-ah-ah, that would be telling. However, I will say this: if you weren’t standing on Library Quad when Pitt’s overtime kick “mysteriously” sailed wide right, then you missed the most epic high-five in Notre Dame history.
Lisa: As a former prophet and leader of the Israelites, it seems like the greatest Catholic university in the country–
Moses: In the world.
Lisa: Whoops, sorry–the greatest Catholic university in the world would be the last place you’d fit in. How does your identity affect how you interact with the University?
Moses: For the most part, very little. The whole campus is like a giant Tent of Meeting (look it up) that’s absolutely flooded with the Lord’s presence, so that makes me feel right at home. I genuinely love the Church, meaning I roll with whatever young Peter and his successors decide is best. During Lent, I do find it amusing to hear students moan about abstaining from meat once a week; you’d think they’re one step away from making a golden statue of bacon strips!
Lisa: That reminds me: can you please explain to us why you stand with your hand pointed upward and your foot on top of a bull’s head?
Moses: Technically, it’s showing me stomping on the head of the infamous golden calf and holding one finger aloft to boldly declare, “The Lord is your God, the Lord alone!” Through the years, though, it has also come to symbolize Notre Dame’s #1 status (in hearts and rankings alike) and our fondness of (hopefully) acquiring first downs. Also, the trademark laws wouldn’t let me stand on a USC Trojan head.
Lisa: Some older alumni remember you being called some variation of “We’re #1 Moses”. Why the name change?
Moses: Three very simple reasons, Lisa. First, the old nickname, while correct, didn’t exactly roll off the tongue very easily. Second, the giant #1 on top of Grace Hall now has that job, for which I am very grateful (hey, it can be tiring!). And finally, I once made the mistake of referring to myself as “#1 Moses” while I was at home; let’s just say my dear Zipporah made sure that would never happen again.
Lisa: As you watch the students of Notre Dame pass by, what are your observations regarding the current student body?
Moses: Without the students, Notre Dame would be nothing more than a bunch of buildings. The excitement, kindness, warmth and fraternal spirit are palpable reminders of why I put up with this wacky South Bend weather day after day. Oh, and one other thing: if you think you’re “clever” enough to sneak 13 cans of some atrocious Canaanite concoction like “Natural Light” “beer” into the library, ask yourself if it’s really worth being tackled by a ten-foot statue.
Lisa: If there is anything that you could change about Notre Dame, what would it be?
Moses: Making all sporting facilities prophet-accessible, which includes giving a few extra seats to those rowdy Holy Cross seminarians so I can hoot and holler with them at every game (looking at you, Brick!). Also, I’d make it the 11th Commandment to keep your friendly neighborhood squirrels happy with a steady supply of donuts and sandwiches, because hungry squirrels = angry squirrels = acorns tossed at my head.
Lisa: Of all of the football games that you have witnessed over the years, which one was the most memorable?
Moses: Besides half the games from this past year, one that jumps to mind is the Michigan Monsoon Massacre in 2008; I may or may not have been on “sea-parting” duty during that one. I also enjoyed our epic come-from-behind win at Michigan State in 2006 (also in a monsoon—sensing a theme here?), mostly because I didn’t let that pagan Sparty statue hear the end of it for weeks.
Lisa: Reading your Twitter feed, it’s pretty clear that you’re passionate about your adopted home and its students and teams. What would you say to those who think a prophet should always be dignified and aloof from such things?
Moses: “Dignity”? I’m retired, folks! Besides, Ed Sorin’s much better at that sort of thing than I am, so I let him handle it. The way I see it, the Lord calls everyone to be active participants, not observers, in His divine plan. For me, that means fully living out my role of encouraging Our Lady’s sons and daughters…which usually entails Tweeting and cheering my beard off.
Lisa: Before you go, got any prophecies about our teams?
Moses: I’m not allowed to say too much…but keep an eye on young Mr. Tuitt next season. Oh, and make sure to pencil in “Watch ND men’s lacrosse” in your May 27th calendar slot.
If you are not already, please (pretty please) follow FirstDownMoses on twitter and see what he’s all about!