Duvall: Standing At the Door
Sunday Night Journal — December 2, 2012


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Sorry, Mac, but I gotta say, "Go Irish!"

I like it. What does "Roll Tide" mean? (Obviously, something to do with a sports team, but which team, and why?)

That's ok, Anne-Marie. If I weren't superstitious I would say something about the likely outcome of the game, but I am, so I won't. If Georgia had won I would have let religion trump regionalism and rooted for ND in the title game. Normally I would root for the SEC team, although I found myself incapable of doing that when it was Auburn a couple of years ago. Not because I hate Auburn so much but because there was such a bad odor about the Cam Newton story. Also because the Auburn folks were being so obnoxious.

College football, Craig. University of Alabama, whose team is formally named The Crimson Tide, though an elephant mascot appeared later, due perhaps to the problem of portraying a tide graphically or dramatically. The phrase is said to have originated with the stirring and evocatively titled fight song, "Yea, Alabama!" which ends with:

Fight on! Fight on! Fight on, men!
Remember the Rose Bowl, we'll win then.
Go, roll to vict'ry! Hit your stride!
You're Dixie's football pride, Crimson Tide!

Wow Mac, we are seriously at odds!

Hier stehe ich; ich kann nicht anders.

(Unfortunate source, I know, for someone refusing to cheer for a Catholic school. But Nick Saban is Catholic.)

Back when my husband was in grad school at Boston College, BC upset ND in a pretty exciting game. The next day, he had the following phone conversation with his mother:
Mom: Did you watch yesterday's game? Wasn't it terrible?
Him: No, it was great!
Mom: What?! You're glad they lost?
Him: Mom, BC is my school!
Mom: Are you sure you're still Catholic?

This from someone who had no personal connection to Notre Dame at all, no friend or relative who'd ever gone there. As the mother of students, I've been subjected to a relentless barrage of propaganda designed both to cultivate and to exploit that tribal feeling of belonging. It leaves me totally cold; even my rooting for the team is mild and ephemeral, a token of friendship to my daughters. As soon as they graduate, I'll go back to my former total inattention to college football.

Ah, I see. I wish them well (unless it is now too late).

I just hope, Maclin, that your stand doesn't produce an equivalent horribleness.


And Mac, I think you should post some audio of yourself singing that fight song.

Maybe I'll do that sometime when I'm trying to relax after singing the title role in Siegfried at the Met.

That's a pretty funny story, Anne-Marie. Was that perchance sometime around the early-to-mid-1990s? I didn't pay any attention to ND or BC at the time (and not much now), but I was on a pre-web online service moderated by a Jesuit who posted an announcement of the score of a BC victory over ND with the subject line "God, S.J."

I wasn't aware until fairly recently of the tribal loyalty to ND that a lot of Catholics have, and how seriously they take it. I'm pretty sure some people are genuinely shocked by my indifference. It's something like the old Catholic loyalty to the Democratic party, which still seems to be sort of a gut-level thing for some, if not at this point enthusiasm for the Democrats at least in the form of an equally gut-level detestation of the Republicans.

Don't worry, Janet, I don't see how this could have any effect beyond annoying Notre Dame fans. Unless they try to get me excommunicated or something.

I can go this far: I will feel bad for Notre Dame if we win, which I wouldn't for, say, LSU.

Yes, it must have been between 1993 and 1996.

And on the other hand, there is this:

I saw that yesterday on Facebook but thought it would be bad form for an Alabama fan to pass it on. It is pretty disturbing. I'd venture to say that similar things happen around football (and other major sports) programs everywhere, except that they don't end in someone's suicide. As much as I enjoy college football, I sometimes think it should be done away with. Not that that would be possible now.

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