Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shake Down The Thunder

Notre Dame has returned to football prominence and has a huge game with Florida State tonight. The following is about one of the greatest players ever for the Irish, and was written on October 15, 2007.

It's been a tough year for Notre Dame football. The Irish, normally a national power, lost their first five games by wide margins before upsetting UCLA last week and getting popped by Boston College yesterday. Notre Dame is the most beloved as well as despised college football program in the country so there has been a combination of hand-wringing and celebrating over their struggles. Players have transferred and coach Charlie Weis has been raked over the coals by pundits who feel he has been condescending since coming to the college ranks from the NFL. But the cruelest blow to the legacy of the university in South Bend, Indiana may have been last week's revelation of the exhumation of Irish grid legend George Gipp on October 4th. Immortalized in the movie Knute Rockne, All American, Gipp was portrayed by an up-and-coming actor named Ronald Reagan. According to the story Rockne told, as Gipp lay dying in 1925, the standout running back asked the Notre Dame coach to invoke his name during some difficult future contest and exhort the Irish to, "win just one for the Gipper." Rockne used the emotional ploy to help his squad knock off highly favored ARMY in 1928 and the legend of George Gipp was cemented. No one seems exactly sure why the bones of the football great were dug up. The coroner simply said the petitioners met the legal requirements to exhume the body in Laurium, a small town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The requesting kin is a grandchild of Gipp's sister. Other living relatives are angry about the process and one family member speculated there is money involved at the root of the story. Adding intrigue to the mystery was the filming of the exhumation by ESPN which is working on an upcoming documentary on Gipp. ESPN has denied any wrongdoing.

Maybe there was a legitimate reason for digging up George Gipp but it hasn't come out to the satisfaction of most who share common DNA with the gridiron star. I tell my students that it is easier to get angry with relatives than with strangers or acquaintances because we know where bones are buried and what skeletons are in the closet. Usually, it's best to let the past remain in the past. It's too easy to open up old wounds and irritate sensitive scar tissue. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus equates anger with murder and specifically warns against being angry with your brother. Sometimes, we just need to leave it alone. The problem is, we can unearth the past without a legal petition to a medical examiner. For our own well-being, we need to bury our shovels. We will reside in the same dirt as the remains of George Gipp soon enough.

Applicable quote of the day:
"George Gipp was the greatest athlete I have ever known. He will be forever remembered as a friend, a student, an athlete, and a gentleman, for to know him was to love him."

Frank Coughlin (Captain, Notre Dame, 1920)

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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