So it’s come to this. A season that, since August, has seen some of the biggest roller coaster like ups and downs that I have ever seen, is now spiraling downward on its final run. But, it’s not finished and that last turn is still unforeseeable. Notre Dame is sitting at 7-4 and for the first time in the Brian Kelly era, I have lost a bit of faith in “the process.”
My job as a blogger isn’t to merely report the news and the facts. That job is reserved for those with either no conscience, no heart, or a real paycheck for written words. My job, is to provide a clear and powerful point of view from fan’s perspective- a conscience of opinion. For the last few weeks for a myriad of reasons, that job has not been done well if it was done at all. This last week, however, it was conscious choice to say and do nothing.
If you have read Subway Domer much at all over the past 7 years, you no doubt know that I have this very healthy skeptical-optimism thing down to a science. I recognize the weaknesses this team has, but instead of chopping it up into a thousand pieces, I peel away at the many layers to find out why things are the way they are. Unfortunately, when you do that, you just keep peeling away and an answer never really comes forth. This was a week of reflection.
It’s an exhausting exercise.
That all leads to this game and these moments about to happen against our rival, Southern Cal. Notre Dame fans dispute that word “rival” quite a bit, and the word gets tossed around as an easy description for basically any team that Notre Dame plays regularly. But, this is truly Notre Dame’s rival, and for the twelfth time in the history of the series, this game finds both the Trojans and the Irish unranked. What is on the line isn’t just a better bowl game, or recruiting battles, or ending the season on a high note, or the Jeweled Shillelagh, or anything nut PRIDE. Pride is on the line for two teams desperately in need of it to win with depleted numbers and in desperate need of it to move forward towards next season when all things start clean and unblemished and with hope.
Who wants this game more? Who will be willing to bleed? Who will be the hungriest to make the other bleed? Who is willing to step to the edge of the abyss and do all that is necessary to gash open their opponent and kick them down that trench just moments away from bleeding to death? WHO WANTS THIS GAME?
Everything else can sit idly by on the floor of the Coliseum. The gameplans, the strategy- all of it is bullshit this week. Notre Dame has to be hungry to devour Trojan flesh and drink that unholy Trojan blood to win this game and move forward and away from this season of drama.
The movie “Any Given Sunday” is a pretty bad football movie, but it gave us one of the best locker room speeches Hollywood has ever come up with. I know it’s corny. I know it’s played out. I know, I know I know… Still, I can’t help but think of that speech as this game approaches. I can’t help but feel the fire in my belly rage up inside me as I listen to that message of fighting with every bit of life. It’s a common theme- as old as war itself. Hell, it’s as old as life itself. And I suppose Dylan Thomas and Henry the Fifth (well, Shakespeare) put it together far more eloquently than Oliver Stone, but for this time and for this moment, this is what we have.
BALLS OUT. SIXTY MINUTES. SLAY THOSE TROJAN MOTHERFUCKERS AND BURN THEIR FUCKING CITY TO THE MOTHERFUCKING GROUND GOD SO HELP US. BATHE IN THE BLOOD OF EVERY TROJAN.