“I don’t think God cares who wins a football game,” Holtz stated, before pausing just long enough to let you know something was up. “But I do think His Mother does,” he added with a wink.” –Tom O’Toole, Champions of Faith
“Can he [the patriot] hate it enough to change it, and yet love it enough to think it worth changing? Can he look up at its colossal good without once feeling acquiescence? Can he look up at its colossal evil without once feeling despair? Can he, in short, be at once not only a pessimist and an optimist, but a fanatical pessimist and a fanatical optimist?” –G.K. Chesterton, during a speech at Notre Dame
Dear Fighting Irish Fans,
I’m Tom O’Toole, AKA “Fighting Irish Thomas,” and I’ve just signed on with RANT to blog about the greatest football program in the history of college football, the University of Notre Dame.
I was raised on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, with my first memory coming in first grade, sitting in front of the often-fuzzy black and white TV set with my dad, watching the epic 1966 Notre Dame-Michigan State battle, praying and pondering the meaning of the tenuous 10-10 tie.
Following in my father’s (and grandfather’s!) footsteps, I also came to Notre Dame, beginning my freshman year with, thanks to Joe Montana and friends, a National Championship (not to mention a “final four” for men’s basketball) and ended my senior year being sports editor of the Notre Dame Scholastic, where my inside story of the incredible ND-Michigan “Harry Oliver” game has become almost as much a part of Irish lore as the game itself.
Yeah, I was spoiled…not as much as some of my dad’s buddies who never saw a loss during their four years of attending the University, but spoiled nonetheless.
Compared to my three sons, just babes when Holtz brought them their last National Championship, I’ve lived a privileged Fighting Irish life, and yet somehow, despite the relative (and sometimes real) mediocrity of the team, they too have felt the special nature of Notre Dame football, and I believe it’s my duty to not only keep the legend alive, but do my part to point it back to the days of miraculous comebacks, countless Heisman’s, and of course, national championships.
Which helps to explain the nature of my two opening quotes.
Although Lou Holtz (and maybe a couple thousand of my readers) might argue with me, no one–with the possible exception of the Lady on the Dome–loves Notre Dame and the Irish more than I, and since She doesn’t blog, it’s up to me to write about Her team, to keep Her love for “Our Lady’s tough guys” alive. On the other hand, Chesterton (like St. Patrick, an Englishman who adopted the Irish) makes it clear that, just as a true patriot can’t stand pat when his country is going to pot, a true fan must fight against those forces that not only prevent his team from winning, but from winning right.
So I hope you join your voices with mine as you come along on the ride with the 2012 Fighting Irish, and look forward to not only your blarney (praise for the team), but your baloney (criticism of it) too.
Go Irish! (and, “Love Thee, Notre Dame”)