Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Fighting the Irish

I hate Notre Dame. But I love Ty Willingham, its football coach, so I like Notre Dame.

No, wait, I spent 20 years cultivating my disdain for the Fighting Irish, and this guy comes in and changes all that? It's not like he's Touchdown Jesus, or even close. How is this possible? How can I go against all that I hold dear to the sports ventricle of my heart? Am I turning to the dark side? What's next, a Mets jersey? Nooooo! Quick, God, if you're all knowing, send me a sign, intervene divinely, something. Help!

Some soul searching was in order last Saturday evening after noticing my cheering of Notre Dame in its 28-20 fourth-quarter rally against Michigan. At first, I blamed the excitement of the game as the reason for "Go Irish Go" mentality. I also had the over of 44 points, so the blocked punt and the collapsing of Michigan's defense played a role in the alumni-esque enthusiasm I displayed. (I'm proud to say I did not attend Notre Dame, be it the real one in South Bend, or any of those J.T. Marlin chop-shop colleges that also use the words Notre and Dame).

So for the past three days, I've walked the Earth searching for answers. Here are my reasons for allowing pro-Notre Dame comments into my world (note: This column will self-destruct in 46 seconds, so print it out now if you want proof I'm rooting for Notre Dame):

* Ty Willingham - Any man who can still rock the wraparound shades deserves props

* Ty Willingham - Came to Notre Dame with a shaved head and won eight games, which was a school record for self-induced bald-headed coaches.

* Ty Willingham - I immediately root for all black head coaches in college football, since it's probably the worst Old Boys Network in sports

* Ty Willingham - He looks like he can still play

* Ty Willingham - He's the college equivalent to Herm Edwards

* Ty Willingham - He's always stoic on the sideline, making his emotional outbursts on the sideline rare and awesome at the same time. When Notre Dame forced a fumble in the fourth quarter of the Michigan game, Willingham went crazy on the sidelines, jumping higher than anyone else. After a touchdown, Willingham jumped into the air to high-five one of his players coming off the field. Seconds after these two incidents, he was back on the sideline, headset on, stoic and intense as ever. We equate this to farting in front of a guard at Buckingham Palace and watching him twitch from the smell, then regaining his composure.

Those are my six reasons for rah-rahing the Fighting Irish this season. Should this be brought up against me in sports court one day, I will deny the allegations and will plead the fifth Dave Chappelle style.

I hate Notre Dame (that's a lie . . . this year).

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