Green is good. It’s the color of God’s green earth. Green is the shade of Ireland – 40 shades of Ireland. Green is one of OUR colors. Not the ugly reptilian green of Michigan State; not the olivetan green of Tulane and their wave. This is Irish Green…shall we say Kelly Green. What wonderful serendipity that our field general shares his name with one of our favorite colors.
So the Leprechaun Legion (that mirabile visu green horde of spirit and pride and love and support and noise and Irishness) has declared tomorrow to be a Green-Out. While I fear that sounds like a euphemism for some sort of tropical parasite that causes intense gastro-intestinal distress, I fully and completely and whole-heartedly support the “Wearing of the Green.” This is how we show who we are. This is how we show Oklahoma and the nation exactly what the soul of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks like.
And what is that soul? It’s courage in the face of any opponent and any odds. It’s devotion not just to one team or one game, but to the very idea of victory – victory no matter how hard-fought, victory in all aspects of life’s games, victory when and where and how it counts. Our soul is one of lovely imperfection, for, above and beyond all else, nothing in this world has any business being perfect. Imperfection, meaning that we can take the hard hits, we can endure the troubles, we can get up from being knocked down…and we have, time and time again over the course of the last 171 years.
Green is our color when we want to celebrate that soul, that spirit, that devotion to overcoming and winning, no matter when, no matter how small the stakes or how daunting the prospects. We win on the field, we win in the pew, we fight hard and win for each other. I don’t mean to suggest that The Lord favors us – that would be blasphemous. But I can assure you all that His Mother has our back.
And I don’t mean that facetiously. Certainly The BVM doesn’t care specifically about football. If she did, we would have had the Ephesus Fighting Ephesians. If The BVM cared specifically about football, she would have flown her house to the Great Plains of Midwestern America, rather than Loreto. But she didn’t. She sent me. And I know, as certainly as water is wet and grass is green, that She does indeed have specific care for each and every one of us – whether it’s our lads in pads, or our chief on the sidelines, or the lowliest freshman in the stands. I know it.
When we wear the Green tomorrow, we must all know it. We must cheer and shout and scream and give our Fighting Irish lads all the support and devotion that Green symbolizes. It is the color of a downtrodden race whom God and His angels seemed to forget for so long. But that was as nothing to the Irish. They came to a new country and made it their own. And that is what we celebrate when we wear the Green. We celebrate the hope that it took to create a new nation on a new continent. We celebrate the sweetness of coming from nothing and living hand-to-mouth for as long as it took to make it – and the Irish, and our Irish, have undoubtedly made it. And we celebrate life. What is the color of life and living things? Green.
Bring on Oklahoma! I fear them not! We can, and we have, defeated them – not just last year, but when it counted most. Who but the Irish toppled the Sooners from their legendary, record-breaking winning streak. We have beaten them, and we will beat them, and Green will be the color not just of their envy, but of our exultation, our spirit, our love for our lads and our University.
Oh, and by the way, the ancient arms of Ireland, the symbol of the people for half a millennium, is not Green. It’s blue and gold.