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Sunday, June 23, 2024
The Observer

To cheer or not to cheer?

I arrived home from The Backer early Sunday morning, sat down in front of my computer, and knew that I had to break the only established rule I had for this column. I promised myself I would not write about anything Notre Dame football until the end of the season, but Saturday struck a chord that I had to vent about. You see, I have been one of those "do every cheer, sing every Victory March, yell during every defensive play" students the past three years. I love the glory in having an aisle seat that provides me the ability to jump wildly when the Irish step up and make a play. Ask anyone who even vaguely knows me and they will confirm that my mood on Sundays and more than likely into the week is determined by the result on Saturday. But for the first time since the Georgia Tech-Notre Dame game on September 1, 2007, I became quiet. A silent observer, if you will. With the exception of the Victory March and Alma Mater, I said very few words, uttered no cheers, and attempted to lash out as little as possible at some horrible play calls, terrible officiating and poor performances.

Why now, you might ask — I have endured brutal home losses to Syracuse and UConn, a 3-9 season, the Navy win streak end at home, another home loss to Navy on top of that and too many down-to-the-wire games turned sour. What could be worse? On Saturday, it all clicked. I watched a Notre Dame team take the field that had the potential and ability to right the ship and get back on track despite Stanford's rank and offensive power. But what did I receive? I saw a team that overall, for the first team this season, looked like it had no heart or will to win. The passion was missing, the desire to fight was gone and any semblance of playing hard was quite hard to find. All of this coming from a team and a head coach that promised the Irish would play four full quarters with every ounce of intensity that was possible.

It is not the "L" on the record that upsets me most; it is the loss of substance. I am a firm believer in the simple saying, "You get what you give." The expectations set by this team for how they would play this year were quite different from those in the recent past. Though both the Michigan and Michigan State games left me devastated, they did not leave me ultimately disappointed and letdown because I saw a team fight to the very end. Mistakes will be made, but they are not always indicative of giving up. If Brian Kelly and the Irish are going to talk about battling each and every week, fighting and playing as hard as they can, and not backing down, I look forward to seeing it translate to the field.

However, there is something to be said of the recent Viewpoints concerning the upperclassmen's ability to support our team. I have read them all carefully, and each side makes a good point. Though the underclassmen are very misguided in expressing what may seemingly look like the upperclassmen's disinterest as an abuse, I must add a more fair criticism for everyone, especially upperclassmen. Do you come to the game to socialize and talk about your drunken antics of the night before all the while looking for more alcohol that you clearly do not need or do you come to the game to watch football? Drunk girl who kept falling on my friend and I the whole game asking what the score was, did you really feel the need to pay $200+ to attend the games? Tool who went up and down the aisle the whole game looking for alcohol, how about you stay home and drink freely? The list goes on. Cheering or not, at least watch the game! And to the underclassmen, I will give you respect for your cheering when you decide to cease doing the Florida State chop after every first down (and yes, this is the second time I mentioned that this year in a column.)

Please understand I am not jumping off the Brian Kelly bandwagon; in fact, it took me a little more time than most to jump aboard. This upcoming Saturday will be the first game I cannot attend this season, but I will be there in front of my TV just as I usually am while at the game. The only difference is I am yelling, cheering and screaming at a piece of technology. Kyle Rudolph tweeted shortly after the game on Saturday, "Sorry Irish fans. Were gunna get this thing right. I have all the faith in my teammates and coaches." Though Rudolph is not one of the guys I have seen lose any of the above qualities, I hope he's right for some of his fellow players. All I am asking is that the "underated, better than 1-3, talent-filled" Notre Dame Fighting Irish play with the heart and passion to show why I truly believe those descriptors of this year's team. The Class of 2007 and I deserve to get what we have given.

Kevin Kimberly is a senior majoring in psychology and political science. He is eligible to run for President in 2024 and welcomes campaign slogans and ideas at

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer. 

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.