Do you know the story of George Gipp and the famous line? If not, then you’re in for a sad treat!
George Gipp is still considered today to be one of the most versatile athletes to ever play football. He played many positions that included halfback, quarterback, and punter. He was actually Notre Dame’s first All-American. He played for famed coach Knute Rockne. He died in 1920 at the young and promising age of 25 after he contracted strep and pneumonia (Seriously, I did not make that up). Antibiotics were not readily available in the 1920s. It was on his deathbed that George Gipp said the following to Knute Rockne:
“I’ve got to go, Rock. It’s all right. I’m not afraid. Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys, ask them to go in there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper. I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock. But I’ll know about it, and I’ll be happy”
Pardon me while I get a box of tissues. All right, I’m back with snot running down my face (paints a pretty picture doesn’t it?). Anyway, Knute Rockne used Gipp’s story as inspiration to beat the 1928 undefeated Army team 12-6. The Irish were huge underdogs that day. Much like they’ve been most of this season.
You’ve all seen Rudy right? The true story of an undersized kid with a huge dream to someday play for the Notre Dame football team, he tried and tried and tried and did everything he could until in the last home game of his senior year ,he was allowed to be on the sidelines in a famed gold helmet. He played 3 series in that game, one of which resulted in a sack on Georgia Tech’s QB, Rudy Allen. Rudy was carried off the field by his teammates and to this day is one of only two to ever have that honor.
These 2 stories point to one irrefutable fact- there is something unbelievably special about Notre Dame. Now I’m sure every college football fan out there would say the same thing about their school, but it’s different with Notre Dame.
Did you know that coach’s Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz both won their first ‘Ship in their 3rd season with the Irish? This is Brian Kelly’s 3rd season-it’s destiny and you can’t mess with destiny!
I’ve heard a lot about the upcoming game. Most of it is centered on the fact that most people don’t think the Irish will be able to get it done and that Alabama’s defense will be too much for Everett Golson and Notre Dame’s offense. I’ve heard that Alabama’s offense is more efficient than ND’s and the O Line is powerful enough to fend off ND’s D Line.
What this clinical assessment lacks is heart and spirit, which is what Notre Dame is made of. Sure Alabama’s an amazing football team with amazing players, but I believe what got ND to the ‘Ship is their heart and spirit; and their fierce desire to get there. You can’t manufacture that, you can’t put it in a water bottle and pass it out to your players, and no 315 pound O Line, fast receiver, or even A.J. McCarron himself can overcome that kind of heart, spirit, and desire for a win.
These are special kids playing for a coach that understands and appreciates the magnitude of what this game means. A coach that also understands that these are still kids, but they are being placed in a position that most mature adults would flub. So statistically speaking, maybe Alabama is the better all around team (maybe!), maybe on paper Alabama beats Notre Dame every time, but those stats and that piece of paper aren’t taking into account that WE ARE THE FIGHTING IRISH and just exactly what that means in the purest sense of the words.
“The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur.” –Vince Lombardi