Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Stormy Weather

In perhaps one of the biggest examples of putting the cart before the horse the site has ever seen, the topic du jour on NDN these days is field-storming after a victory by 1-5 Notre Dame over 6-0 Boston College. The debate has spread to an opening salvo in The Observer, which no doubt will lead to a couple days' worth of responses.

Let me kick my field-storming credentials up front so folks know from whence I come: I think field-storming, in general, is a bad idea, and I think premeditated field-storming is pretentious and queer. Although it's not an optimal activity in my eyes, field-storming is supposed to be borne of spontaneity and enthusiasm, not a meeting of the Spirit Committee. It smacks of high school student government antics.

I was in the marching band in 1988 when ND took down Miami, which was the first field-storm I remember. Obviously a huge win, and I can understand the enthusiastic response. But as someone carrying a 50-pound drum on his back, my concern was getting run into and/or knocked over, which could have been a rather injurious experience for both me and, perhaps more so, the unfortunate party of the second part.

Additionally, there are 50+ members of the team that, hypothetically, just got beaten on that field wandering about as well. They probably won't take kindly to the enthusiasm of the ND faithful. While my distaste for field-storming is not opponent-specific, let's also remember in this scenario, the opponents involved have a history at ND Stadium of not being the classiest of guests, even in victory. Defeat, most likely, will make even more manifest their trailer-trash aspects, increasing the probability of injury to the stormers at the hands of the stormees. That kind of melee doesn't do ND any good.

I'm loath to play the fuddy-duddy role here, and I don't want to go so far as to tell people not to do it. But the fact they're already talking about it means the action has become, like so many other things at ND home games these days, a contrived event with a lot more sizzle than steak. When you have to plan how you're going to react to a win, it becomes a lot less about what the win means and a lot more about what people think is the "proper" response to that win.

The path between that and spirit banners is depressingly short. Let's not walk it.

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Anonymous dbldomer7375 said...

Agreed. In the words of Lou Holtz, "Act like you've been there, before."

10/09/2007 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous pczoty said...

Well said. It would be great to get a win, and if we do it'll be a big one, but in the future its stature will, hopefully, not be so great.

10/09/2007 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just want to win this game...not sure why students are even thinking about storming a field. We have a lot to do before that decision.

10/09/2007 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger jim / Redondo Beach said...

How did I know that the "Geetar" was a drumboy in a marching band? Who would ever cop to such?

10/09/2007 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger SSI said...

I was there in '93. After we went up, virtually the entire student section began to drift forward for the rushing of the field. We know how that turned out.

Remember what my friend Allan said after a few folks made it onto the field against Southern Cal in '05: "This is why you never rush the field. Now we look like assholes."

Let's focus on helping get the win -- maybe some real noise on third and long -- not on how to react.

ND over BC should be just another day at the office. It is nothing to rush the field over.

10/09/2007 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the melee in Madison, Oct 31, 1993, in which field storming resulted in 5 pulseless non-breathers (all of whom survived, luckily), and dozens of other injuries. A former dorm-mate graced the cover of Sports Illustrated that week crouching over her downed friend and yelling out for help. What should have been a moment of triumph (announcing the long awaited revival of Wisconsin football), was instead a great tragedy.

Suffice it to say, I'm not a fan of storming the field.

10/09/2007 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good points - especially the cart before the horse part! Did anyone actually see the win last week?! This team parlayed a +7 turnover differential into a mere 14 point victory!

As sweet as a win over BC would be (revenge!), let's not start planning our victory celebration just yet! This is still a very young and inexperienced team that is highly challenged on the offensive front. It's good to try to curtail the planned field storming, as you've done, but it certainly seems strange to me that we're already planning on how we're going to respond after we win before the game has even been played and especially in light of the last 6 games!!!

10/09/2007 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a confidence thing. Prepare and know you're going to win. It's about not giving BC any undeserved respect. A field rush would do so. I remember when Duke B-Ball upset a much better UNC team. Their fans started to rush then went back. UNC didn't deserve it much like BC will not.

10/09/2007 11:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10/09/2007 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Erik said...

I agree, it shouldnt be premeditated. Now that being said, two years ago Maurice Stovall did urge the students to tear down the goalpost after they beat USC. His words "the only thing I want to see down after this game is that damn goal post"

It was premeditated a little but the excitement we had when we thought we had beaten the condoms, it was electric.

THIS game however is NOT the same. First off BC will not be in contention for a national title, and we are not going into this game with one loss and our own title hopes on the line. We are limping in with a single victory and only our pride on the line. We should show both some humility for our own team, as well as telling BC that they are indeed, not really that important.

Wishing I was there.

10/09/2007 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Hermanator said...

Let's worry about winning the game first.

10/09/2007 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its a sad day when ND fans feel the need to storm the field after beating BC. we are the program defined by national championships while they're defined by a sprinkling of upsets.

10/09/2007 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Jason said...

To Erik, just to clarify, it was Corey Mays who asked the students to tear down the goal posts. And the minute afterwards that was probably the loudest I've ever heard the students at a pep rally - in the Stadium, nonetheless.

10/09/2007 12:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny that this year it is the BC fans looking past this game as another meaningless win while the ND fans are debating whether they should rush the field.

10/09/2007 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger JimG said...

I thought it was Ara that said, "Act like you've been there before." But, regardless, a 1-5 team talking about storming the field is ridiculous and I would think it could be "bulletin board" fodder for BC. This would be a great win against a ranked opponent, but nothing like Miami '88 or FSU '93 when a Nat'l Championship hung in the balance for both teams. I'll be there, screaming my head off, but likely not storm the field. We need to show class to the classless, and BC is certainly among the classless.

10/09/2007 02:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, i agree leave the celebrating of a win for the team on the field. And the students join in that victory win with the team in the stands.

10/09/2007 02:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about a pre-storm? Students on the field forming a tunnel to greet the team as it runs on? That was standard procedure at one time.

10/09/2007 02:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dont forget, students rushed the court after beating 20-0 BC in hoops a few years back. This would be a much bigger win. Students will definately rush the field.

10/09/2007 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Osprey said...

I was in the north end zone at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, and saw the look of jubilation on Jimmy Clausen's face after the victory.

You can't duplicate that with something staged. You shouldn't try. That's not Notre Dame.

10/09/2007 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I echo the earlier sentiment concerning the '05 near win over USC. I can distinctly remember a man in his 60's or 70's behind me in the student section (nevermind what he was doing there) who kept repeating the line "I can't wait to get on that field" while the ending to one of the greatest football games in recent memory was unfolding before his eyes. I remember the throng of idiots dying to participate in that premature rush onto the field while anyone with a shred of sense (or concern for ND's fate) was trying to figure out what the hell was going on in the opposite end zone.

Its just stupid and it smacks of the worst kind of rah rah me-too groupthink. Pay attention to the game, appreciate what is/could/might be happening and celebrate later by burning your couch. No, on second thought, don't do that either. Have some class.

It is, afterall, Boston College.

10/09/2007 04:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That we're even having this discussion presupposes that the Irish might actually win. The fact that we're even accepting that for purposes of argument is both shockingly naive and arrogant. Let's move on to other things.

10/09/2007 04:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Paul Brown was the first to say act like you've been there before

10/09/2007 04:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

C'mon guys, BC has owned us the past 4 times we've played them. They are the #4 team in the country! A win over BC would be huge. Don't put a damper on things if we pull off a big upset and the kids want to celebrate! We need to get some excitement going again for ND football - this is the perfect opportunity.

10/09/2007 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Big Jack Krack said...

Anonymous said "Funny that this year it is the BC fans looking past this game as another meaningless win while the ND fans are debating......."

We Boston College fans ARE NOT overlooking this game - do not kid yourselves. I can remember when ND first began playing in bowl games and how they came out in some instances looking very quiet and confident (like they belonged there or had been there before, etc) I really admired that. Many of us still admire ND in many ways - why shouldn't we. We'd be happy to keep it that way, unless many of you insist on being something less than classy. We are also very proud of Boston College.

But guess what? You are going to see a confident BC Team run out onto that field - one which respects you and one that realizes that you are very dangerous in South Bend having earned your victory last week in Los Angeles. You will get their full attention, believe me.

We know that you are a program defined by national championships while perhaps we are defined by a sprinkling of upsets. But the tide has been turning a little bit, if you have noticed. Has your schedule been tougher than BC's so far? Yes, I guess it arguably has a little bit. Doesn't a true championship team want to schedule its tougher more important games later in the season, rather than the other way around?

Did someone say something about UMass? We know such a game does BC no good in the eyes of the media and many fans nationally, but it's the right thing to do for New England and Massachusetts Football -- they have 16 1A players on their team this year and are just about as good as Appalachian State - a school that beat mighty Michigan who beat you handily. And guess what - those guys on the UMass squad were real bangers and helped BC a lot by playing tough.

One thing I have learned since joining the ACC - every league game is like a playoff game, especially within one's own division. BC started off with 3 straight ACC games with a new head coach and many other new coaches on the staff.

And after the ND game we have Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Florida State in Boston, Maryland in College Park, Clemson at Death Valley and Miami in Boston.

After BC and USC, you can look forward to Duke, Army, Navy and Air Force. Whose blood will be pumping more as the season progresses? It won't be the team defined by national championships - not this year anyway.

Oh and by the way - again -Boston College will not be looking past Notre Dame. It's a huge game for us - these players know what is at stake - they are self motivated - the older players really help out the younger players (do you really think you have more younger players than anyone else?)and they are blessed with some great coaches - even if some of them are new to BC this year.

Good luck to you.

10/09/2007 05:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like Paul Brown said, and what Ara, Lou and now Charlie have all reiterated, is the need to act with class. However, what we should all remember is ND has BEEN THERE before. Lets remember this and not confuse ourselves with the Michigan States and BC's of football.

10/09/2007 05:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Storm the field? Are you kidding me. Let's just go out and ruin BC's shot at a national title and enjoy the moment.

10/09/2007 06:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big Jack, we don't play Army this year. We play them once every 7-10 years and every detractor etches them in stone into our permanent schedule.

If there is to be any change in the relationship between ND and BC, it must come from the BC side. What can ND do to change this relationship? You say you respect ND, but many of your fellow alumni and past football players clearly do not. The onus is on them to arrive in South Bend and behave in a civil manner. It would be nice if they stopped making us non-BC Bostonians all look like d-bags (USC and Michigan fans would not disrupt our pep rallies, for example).

As to your drive-by comment on younger players, of course we don't have "more" younger team members than other teams. We have fewer upperclassmen and returning lettermen than most teams. Learn the difference before posting your specious analysis. Nice straw man, though.

10/09/2007 07:06:00 PM  
Anonymous ND1965 said...

My (admittedly rusty) memory is that it was Vince Lombardi who said "act like you've been there before".

10/09/2007 07:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...but you can't act like you've been there before because none of these players and none of these students have seen much ND success, and have seen NO success against BC. It is silly to be having this conversation - is this what this program grasps onto now? Who cares - talk about football, even it is a painful conversation to have these days.

10/09/2007 07:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too was there in '93... was there in '92 and have been there every time BC came to town. I rushed the field because it was a great win against a great team... it was pure emotion that brought us down to the field... no disrespect... emotion! I could not agree more that a "planned rush the field" is so bogus it degrades your school... BTW there will be no cause for a rush the field this weekend!

10/09/2007 09:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just for the record, I was part of the field storming after the first victory (of two) in 1956. It wasn't much fun. I believe it would be even less fun, partly because less spontaneous, this Saturday. The fun will come, if it comes, with the realization of a victory!

10/09/2007 11:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Bill V said...

All of this talk about an upset of BC is dependent on largely two things:
an inspired defensive performance and the return of Evan Sharpley to the field for a downfield passing attack.

10/10/2007 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Big Jack Krack said...

Hello Anonymous:

My mistake concerning Army - and no disrespect to either the Cadets or Stanford - or Notre Dame for that matter. The larger point I was trying to make is that these league games really are exciting because every one is like a playoff game, as I said. We never experienced that in the Big East.

If ND is having an off year, how can you get juiced up about your last 4 games?

I understand that some of the BC fans need to step up. If you feel that way, it's good enough for me. It is always better to cheer loudly for your own team without disrespecting your opponent. Perhaps that can be said of most if not all teams.

Causing a disruption at your pep rally(ies) is not a smart thing for BC fans to do and no way to behave. I hope we learned our lesson there. Personally, I would go there just to experience the scene, enjoy the tradition and get quietly fired up to beat the home team the next day. My one visit to South Bend was 3 years ago, and my only disappointment was that I couldn't experience all of the ND pre-game traditions because of the rain that morning.

I do not like it that we have that reputation with you, and I hope it begins to change this year. I went to the BC-Clemson game in Death Valley 2 years ago, and was really impressed with the graciousness of their fans to the visiting team - even after we pulled off a win in OT. I thought the Georgia Tech fans were pretty good, but I wasn't in the student section where there was a great deal of unsportsman-like conduct towards BC. I always detested West Virginia in the Big East because their fans are definitely over the top. UNC fans are gracious. Wake Forest Fans are gracious. NC State fans were pretty good. The fans didn't show up at Miami last Thanksgiving, so don't know about them. Have yet to learn about Virginia Tech or Maryland or Florida State, or Duke or Virginia.

Notre Dame fans seemed gracious to me, and I think the greater majority of BC fans are gracious as well.

Boston is a professional sports town, and the Red Sox and Patriots are having super seasons, and the Celtics are expected to challenge for the title this year. It's a whole different atmosphere in Boston than South Bend in that respect. Considering that the BC Administration must negotiate with neighborhood groups from Brighton, Newton and Brookline when trying to improve or enhance (enlarge) anything - it's a wonder our stadium has a 44,500 capacity. Give us some credit for fielding a highly competitive football team with academic success the same as yours.

Best of luck Saturday - Boston College is not overlooking this game.

10/10/2007 08:46:00 AM  

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