The Fighting Irish

In Ireland, we associate the words ‘September’, ‘football’ and ‘Irish’ with the commencement of international football (soccer) campaigns, however frustrating the results may prove to be. But for the Irish in America, these words mean only one thing: the start of another season for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.
We’ve all seen the t-shirts and baseball caps, be it in films or actually in person, being worn by Irish people who really have no idea what it refers to.

But for Irish Americans, the University of Notre Dame football team provides an opportunity to express their unique Irish identity in a sporting context, making the Fighting Irish the best supported college football team in the USA.

For the uninitiated, college sports may seem somewhat irrelevant. Certainly, in Ireland, university sports are an almost esoteric experience, with only the Sigerson Cup attracting even a minimal public interest beyond the families and friends of the participants.

But in the USA, college sports are as big- if not bigger- than their professional equivalents in Football and Basketball. Notre Dame, for instance, play to sell out crowds of more than 80,000 spectators for their home games, with tickets being sold out years in advance.

I must confess a selfish interest at this stage. As someone born and raised as an Irish catholic in America, I was reared as a Fighting Irish fan from my youngest days (the university is considered the most prestigious catholic educational institution in the country.) The university, situated in South Bend, Indiana, has retained an impressive reputation for both its academic as well as sporting credentials throughout its existence.

The team’s most famous head coach, Knute Rockne, was the subject of a famous film in which the future US president, Ronald Reagan, played a starring role as George Gipp. (Incidentally, the legendary speech reputedly given by the then Notre Dame head coach to his players during that 1920s fixture against Army, was the subject of a hilarious sketch in the classic Notre Dame’s team song, tells a stewardess to ‘win just one more for the Zipper!’)

This season, Notre Dame enter the season ranked second in the National rankings- a complex procedure I won’t even attempt to explain to the newcomer. Suffice to say, Fighting Irish fans are looking forward to their team challenging for their first National title this year since 1988. The Fighting Irish kick off their season with a tough away game to Georgia Tech. However, regardless of their result today, the Fighting Irish will remain much more than a team for their millions of Irish American fans.

  • na

    Chris,

    I have seen the almost iconic (and to my eyes tacky) leprechaun before. Do you know if it’s a recent addition to NotreDame marketing, a long standing image or a recent version of something older?

    I recall relatives including pre-worn sports jackets in our 70s and 80’s packages from America that had the interlinked letters ND but never anything with the leprechaun.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I find the Fighting Irish depiction and everything associated with it to be crudely racist; it’s the equivalent of a golliwog. I don’t see how nationalists or republicans could approve of it.

  • willowfield

    The name “Fighting Irish” perpetuates a rather unfortunate stereotype about Catholic Irish. The fact that the name – which alludes to a celebration of casual violence – is apparently embraced is quite an unpleasant feature of this particular manifestation of Catholic/Irish-American culture.

  • Chris Donnelly

    na
    I don’t honestly know its origins, but it certainly has been around from the late 70s/ early 80s at the very least (when I would have first come across it.)

    CS and W’field
    A case of being too sensitive, I think. Certainly, I have yet to come across any strand of Irish America which has found the term offensive. Its simply a nickname for the team, which has actually been embraced by the massive Irish community- hence the unparalleled marketing success of the logo.

    I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, where the local college’s nickname is the ‘Sun Devils,’ with a mascot dressed as a devil carrying one of those giant pitchforks. Nobody there found that offensive either.

  • John East Belfast

    Chris Donnelly

    “I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, where the local college’s nickname is the ‘Sun Devils,’ with a mascot dressed as a devil carrying one of those giant pitchforks. Nobody there found that offensive either.”

    Did you ask the Hell’s inhabitants about that !

    “A case of being too sensitive”

    I wish nationalism was as opened minded this side of the pond

  • willowfield

    The fact that the Catholic/Irish-American community is not offended is disturbing.

    It is not healthy to be embracing such a steretype or to be celebrating a fondness for casual violence.

  • If Irish Americans are not offended, then the term is not offensive. The name is actually revered by Irish Americans and has nothing to do with “casual violence”, but everything with the will to win, to fight to the finish.

    When Notre Dame & football were new, the students there were mostly the sons and grandsons of Irish immigrants. They were not like most university students of the day. They would have been considered ‘rough’, etc. They played football with an intensity that was born of need to beat those who thought they were better than the Irish.

    And, they did. Often. By the 1920s Notre Dame was the best college football team in the country and the pride of the ‘subway alumni’ (all those Irish Catholics who never get anywhere near a college) throughout America. That has continued to this day even though Notre Dame has struggled the past 15 years.

    The Leprechaun became the mascot in the 60s.

    Chris,

    Fortunate, yesterday, but a win is all that matters.

  • lib2016

    ” The term ‘Fighting Irish’ perpetuates a rather unfortunate stereotype about Catholic Irish”

    I ‘googled’ ‘etymology fighting Irish’ and got connected to a site which went on about the Hatfields and McCoys and other Protestant descendents of the Presbyterian Scots Irish.

    Now that they’ve got rid of (or been abandoned by?) the Anglo-Irish AND Lord Livid maybe our Scots Irish friends could rediscover their real roots – republicanism included!

  • Comrade Stalin

    A case of being too sensitive, I think.

    That comment is straight out of the Orange Order book on how to defend sectarian marches.

    Its simply a nickname for the team, which has actually been embraced by the massive Irish community- hence the unparalleled marketing success of the logo.

    You mean that a large number of Americans have embraced it. Irish Americans are not Irish. They are Americans with Irish ancestors. Don’t get me wrong, I have no particular beef with them, I just don’t like it when they misrepresent themselves.

    If Irish Americans are not offended, then the term is not offensive.

    Irish Americans aren’t offended because they are not Irish. I know many people who actually are Irish, without a hyphen, and they find it offensive. Then again, a lot of what Irish America seems to be about is totally alien to people who are actually from here.

  • John East Belfast

    lib2016

    From the twaddle you post on here I hope I share no roots with you

  • Nevin
  • You mean that a large number of Americans have embraced it. Irish Americans are not Irish. They are Americans with Irish ancestors.

    Ehh, no, not really. Even a large majority of those Americans born in Ireland are not offended.

  • And, Nevin’s point is well taken. The orgins of the term “fighting Irish” is unknown, but it almost certainly dates back to the spirit of the Irish regiments during the Civil War.

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    I have 2 college football shirts…one is, of course, ND and the other is where I went to school-Michigan State University—-MSU. Both huge football entities and powerhouses.

    I think it bothers people when the see the Irish disporia in the US and Catholics in the US get behind the FIGHTING IRISH….too bad. It is our version of Celtic

    Several years ago when president Clinton’s daughter was attending stanford university- they played ND in a foot ball game out in California. And the stanford band made fun of the Irish famine…they had some dress as leprauchans and they made fun of the Catholic bishops hat. There was some outrage and stanford said that ND fans were too sensitive and it was just clean fun.

    another ND fact…at the back of one of the goal posts…there is a building a distance away…but they have on the building a big picture of Jesus…and it is centered in the goal posts…and they have a nickname of touchdown Jesus….for it….yeah… Yep I’m a big supporter of the fighting Irish.

  • John East Belfast

    BTW Post 2 is not Trevor Ringland of UUP, Irish Rugby and One Small Step Campaign

  • Comrade Stalin

    Ehh, no, not really.

    Yes really. If you’re not born here then you’re not Irish. Wanting to be doesn’t change this.

    Even a large majority of those Americans born in Ireland are not offended.

    Can you explain to me how you came by this information ?

  • willowfield

    The name … has nothing to do with “casual violence”, but everything with the will to win, to fight to the finish.

    Nonsense. Look at the logo, ffs. It is a clear allusion to the steretypical, violent Catholic-Irishman.

  • Garibaldy

    From what somebody who works there told me, most of the football players are now African-Americans, and quite often Muslim. But they still get blessed by a priest before each match in the dressing room.

  • Metacom

    Comrade Stalin, I’m American born but am of Irish parentage, have an Irish passport, lived in Atha Cliath for 8 years, agus labraim an Gaelige (droch). Do I have your permission to call myself Irish?

    I’m in the very small minority of Irish Americans who find the mascot embarassing and offensive. I think the reason most don’t is because Irish Americans are firmly esconced in the mainstream now and very few actually believe the sterotype it represents. Contrast that with Native Americans who are still very much on the margins and for the most part find the sports mascots that represent them (Braves, Indians, Redskins, Chiefs etc.) extremely offensive. The college athletics governing body (NCAA) has banned their use in post season tournaments, a decision I’m very much in agreement with.

    Chris,

    “the university is considered the most prestigious catholic educational institution in the country” — are you kidding me? Not a bad school but cerainly not a Georgetown, Holy Cross, or even BC — can’t beat them Jesuits!

  • CJ

    NODER DAYME!!!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Comrade Stalin, I’m American born but am of Irish parentage, have an Irish passport, lived in Atha Cliath for 8 years, agus labraim an Gaelige (droch). Do I have your permission to call myself Irish?

    No. And it’s not to do with my permission, it’s to do with the definition of Irish nationality is, which is that of a person who is from Ireland. You’re an American from the United States, you grew up among Americans, went to American schools, hung about with American kids. You can’t say that you’re Irish in the same way as a jackeen from Drumcondra who’s never been beyond the Hogan stand, unless you’re trying to tell a rather unfunny joke.

    The “see, I can speak a few bits of Irish, how profoundly Celtic I am” stuff doesn’t sway my point of view, I’m afraid. There are people of all kinds of nationalities who have lived in Dublin (nobody calls it Ath Claith except when they’re speaking Irish, which happens pretty rarely) longer than you have, and they’re not Irish either.

    That said, I’m glad we agree on the important part, about the racist stereotyping that certain Americans have come to accept. The Fighting Irish thing is, to me, right up there with the redskins etc, and I can’t imagine Irish people with any sense thinking it to be harmless considering the underlying stereotype. If the leprechaun were depicted swilling whiskey and beating his wife then it would be complete.

  • pete

    I would love to know if native americans are as offended by the kansas city chiefs or the washington redskins. Or if Scandinavians have anything against the minnesota vikings. Or are we the only place where people just love to be offended? Political correctness gone mad. American football is a full contact, and a times violent sport. They can hardly call themselves the Irish Fairies, can they?

  • Yes really. If you’re not born here then you’re not Irish.

    I love that one. I definitely don’t qualify because I was born in the US and raised there. I’ve only lived here for 15 years, so I’m not Irish and never will be (passport notwithstanding). Same for my daughter. Born in the US and moved here aged 3 months. Never can be Irish. Two other children born here, so they qualify. Whew!

  • Garibaldy

    I think this might be of interest to some people. It’s Notre Dame’s centre for Irish studies, which is home to several of those most prominent in rejecting revisionism and pushing the idea Ireland should be looked at as a postcolonial society

    http://www.nd.edu/~irishstu/

  • bob

    why not discuss a man’s game instead of that thing with all the stop’s. The assembly moves quicker than these over protected pansies.
    Get them to get a hurl and sliothar and show themselves to be figthing irishmen. Until then don’t discredit us with reference to this sport. Irishmen excel at games such as football, hurling and rugby. Proper sports for proper men. Fighting or not.

  • willowfield

    Oh dear.

  • bob

    i dont enjoy american football what can i say and i would rather we discussed sports that we play like congratulating the irish ryder cup contingent on making the team and hope they kick some us ass

  • Comrade Stalin

    I love that one. I definitely don’t qualify because I was born in the US and raised there. I’ve only lived here for 15 years, so I’m not Irish and never will be (passport notwithstanding). Same for my daughter. Born in the US and moved here aged 3 months. Never can be Irish. Two other children born here, so they qualify. Whew!

    I’d love to hear your idea of what qualifies a person to be of a particular nationality, John. Just because you move to a particular country doesn’t mean you become like the people there.

  • bob

    John

    you can be irish if u embrace ireland. I think comrade stalins point is because so many americans have irish ancestors this does not make them irish.

  • bob

    or not?

    good point comrade stalin, although if somebody wishes to embrace ireland as their homeland as an irishman i have no problem. However if he does wish to be american then he is not irish. No man who associates gladly associates himself with a country who commits war crimes as often is not welcome on these shores.

  • Fraggle

    Let it not be forgotten that the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage.

  • Donnacha

    The fact that the Catholic/Irish-American community is not offended is disturbing.

    It is not healthy to be embracing such a steretype or to be celebrating a fondness for casual violence.

    Posted by willowfield on Sep 03, 2006 @ 03:28 PM

    So, you’re upset because Catholics are NOT offended? But I thought they were just a bunch of whingeing Mopes…

  • art_macerc

    Nevin,

    Thanks for the link, but:

    “The regiment’s battle cry is “Faugh a Ballagh” meaning “Clear the Way”. ”

    the bloody nerve of these people. “Faugh a Ballagh” is/was actually the motto of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, first uttered by a sergeant of that regiment at the Peninsular battle of Barosa, at which they captured a French regimental eagle.

  • darth rumsfeld

    or as he reputedly said at the time…”Bejabers Sorr, Oi have de cuckoo!”.Like the vast majority of the Irish soldiers who fought for King/Queen and Country, he was …er a Gael and Roman Catholic.

    The Fighting 69th?
    Had he been spared, Ulster Scot Stonewall Jackson would mhave whupped their collective Noo Yawk asses.

    Seriously though- just what is the difference between the logo of the Fighting Irish and the cartoons in Punch in the 19th century which are still cited as evidence of British racism , the cause of the Famine etc etc?

  • lib2016

    “..what is the difference…cartoons in Punch in the 19th century..?”

    The fact that Irish people now feel secure, even triumphant in their identity. Reading Carleton one gets the impression that pre-Famine the Irish had a similar sense of selfrespect.

    As for earlier posts one gets the impression that some people would not have accepted the ‘Irishness’ of De Valera (born New York) and Connolly (born Glasgow). Maybe people’s identity has more to do with what they feel than with bits of land. Waddayaknow – John Hume was right all along!

  • Levitas

    Comrade Stalin I was born in Ireland but have spent 60% of my life span to date in England. Am I Irish then? I think you have an offensive and exclusivist conception of Irish identity, there is an Irish diaspora, and Irishness has taken many form in different parts of the globe, and each is a legitimate form of irish identity. It can be argued that the Irish identity of a nationalist from the Falls Road is noticeably different in its forms of expression than say a young person from Blackrock, which in turn is nuanced differently from that of a person from Bantry. Up to 20% of the combatants in the Easter Rising on the Republican side were first generation Irish from London under the command of the legendary “Blimey O’Reilly” – need I remind you that our national anthem specifically refers to those who come from a land beyond the sea. I think you need to re-examine your doctrinaire conceptions of national identity, which have a lot in common with the erroneous idea of your e-namesake, and investigate the work done many years ago on this very matter. Namely the ideas which emerged from the first International Irish Race Congress,which mobilised support for the War of Independence wherever the Irish diaspora was to be found.

    The initiator of the congress, fully supported by the Republican leadership in Ireland in cluding De Valera and Collins, was Thomas Hughes Kelly from New York, who declared that ‘Ireland’s future is not limited to its geographic boundaries. She gave away to the world her strongest and most trustworthy sons. Now we compensate her with our support, which is the first offspring of that prolific seed’ [El Boletín Irlandés, Buenos Aires, 24 December 1921].

  • bob

    lib2016

    some people means plural i assume that includes me. You may have noticed my line about embracing ireland. You either consider these people did not embrace ireland or dont use the plural as i should not be included. Could you clarify that for me?

  • George

    From NCAA Football History:

    “The most generally accepted explanation is that the press coined the nickname as a characterization of Notre Dame athletic teams, their never-say-die fighting spirit and the Irish qualities of grit, determination and tenacity.

    The term likely began as an abusive expression tauntingly directed toward the athletes from the small, private, Catholic institution. Notre Dame alumnus Francis Wallace popularized it in his New York Daily News columns in the 1920s…

    The Notre Dame Scholastic, in a 1929 edition, printed its own version of the story:

    “The term ‘Fighting Irish’ has been applied to Notre Dame teams for years. It first attached itself years ago when the school, comparatively unknown, sent its athletic teams away to play in another city …At that time the title ‘Fighting Irish’ held no glory or prestige …

    “The years passed swiftly and the school began to take a place in the sports world …’Fighting Irish’ took on a new meaning. The unknown of a few years past has boldly taken a place among the leaders. The unkind appellation became symbolic of the struggle for supremacy of the field. …The term, while given in irony, has become our heritage. …So truly does it represent us that we unwilling to part with it …”

    Notre Dame competed under the nickname “Catholics” during the 1800s and became more widely known as the “Ramblers” during the early 1920s in the days of the Four Horsemen.

    University president Rev. Matthew Walsh, C.S.C., officially adopted “Fighting irish” as the Notre Dame nickname in 1927.

    The Leprechaun wasn’t always the official mascot – for years the team was represented by a series of Irish terrier dogs.
    The Leprechaun supposedly bringing magical powers and good luck to the Notre Dame team and was named the official mascot in 1965. “

  • lib2016

    bob,

    Just trying to keep the chat as general as possible. The policy here is to try and concentrate on the topic rather than getting lost in attacking each other as I and many others have done in the past. My apologies if I have inadvertently offended you.

    The longer I post here the more I admire Mick’s wisdom in imposing the ‘ball not man’ rule.

  • CombineHarvesterOfSorrow

    In the interests of Balance, are any Ulster Protestants offended by the “Orangemen” of Syracuse University?

  • willowfield

    “the first International Irish Race Congress”

    Good God.

  • Chris Donnelly

    CBH of Sorrow

    Don’t get them started on ‘The Volunteers’ of Tennessee….

  • Lets not forget some of the worst attrocities of ’98 where carried out by the Irish speaking North Cork Militia……… not that i want to get into any “whateboutery” you understand.

  • Derek De Kont

    The leprechaun of American popular culture is just a toned down version of the Irishman as ape caricatures of the 19th century.

    That Irish Americans actually embrace this kind of crap just goes to show how really connected with Ireland or their own past they are.

    I’ve actually talked with Irish Americans who fell over themselves with pride about their alcohol abuse, wearing hateful racist stereotypes like badges of honour.

    Stupid bloody yanks, they give the well intentioned and informed (yes they exist) a bad name.

  • niall

    I knew as soon as i saw the original post that many of the comments would be petty and predictable. Identity and Symbolism, the troubles have given us all lots of tired lines about both.

    I’m not offended by Fighting Irish! The name tells us something about the heritage of Irish Americans and the ambition of a football team, not a great deal about Ireland 2006. Lighten up for gods sake.

    I lived in the US for a fair while and I don’t think we should lecture those who consider themselves hyphenated Americans about who they are. When an American says “I’m Irish”, they don’t mean they were born here, they are not saying they are the same as you/member of our gang, they are assuming that you’ll understand that they are in fact American but their heritage is Irish and they feel that has had some baring on who they are today. They have generally grew up with other hyphenated americans were its ok to do this?

    Should we discourage young americans from taking a world view? 20 years ago when I first encountered yanks I laughed at them when they said I’m Irish, on my travels through the states I had a chance understand and to change my view and it hasn’t cost me anything.

    America is a much more interesting and compicated country than the outside world assumes.

  • In the interests of Balance, are any Ulster Protestants offended by the “Orangemen” of Syracuse University?

    I’m not sure, but I suspect that the Orangemen for Syracuse refers to the Dutch. Albany, NY was known as Fort Orange before the New Amsterdam colony became New York.

  • harpo

    ‘The term likely began as an abusive expression tauntingly directed toward the athletes from the small, private, Catholic institution.’

    So like many other abusive terms the abused adopted it as a show of their control over it?

    A bit like many modern day young blacks in the US adopting the word ‘nigger’ (or their ‘nigga’ variant of the word) as a sign that while it used to be used as abuse aginst them they are now confident enough to use it as a badge of honour? So that at least amongst themselves it holds no element of abuse.

    That sort of theory is all very well, but really – exactly how Irish is Notre Dame these days? It is certainly an Irish-American institution, but as for real Irishness I don’t know.

    The big difference of course with Notre Dame is the fact that there was an actual Irish component (via immigrants) in its history, as opposed to those sports teams with all sorts of native American based names. None of them actually have any native American involvement in their history, but you still have the names like Redskins, Chiefs, Braves, Indians being used.

    One college football team that uses a native name is the Florida State Seminoles. They claim that their use of the name reflects the bravery of this tribe which was from that actual area. The college even works with the tribe to make sure that the name is used in a positive light and not in a derogatory fashion.

    I don’t think that Notre Dame do this. That mascot certainly is derogatory and paints a picture of Irish who are literally prepared to fight. Maybe ‘the Irish’ should be asked if that mascot is demeaning.

  • harpo

    ‘In the interests of Balance, are any Ulster Protestants offended by the “Orangemen” of Syracuse University?’

    Combine:

    They don’t use such symbols, but if the symbol used by that university was indeed a cartoon OO orangeman that perpetuated some negative trait of actual OO orangemen (not that they have any) then I’d say that real OO orangemen would be entitled to be offended.

    Just as blacks in the US would be right to get offended if some sports team decided to call itself ‘the XXXX Niggers’ and used a derogatory cartoon black man as their symbol.

    The use of a name is fine if it has nothing to do with some group of people, but if it is clear that it is based on some trait of some group, then the team involved should be sensitive to the feelings of that group. Especially when it is a negative trait.

  • Metacom

    “None of them actually have any native American involvement in their history, but you still have the names like Redskins, Chiefs, Braves, Indians being used.”

    Harpo,
    The exception is the Cleveland Indians. Named in honor of Louis Sockalexis, a Penobscot from Maine who was an outstanding collegiate player at Holy Cross before going on to play professionally in Cleveland. The Cleveland team was renamed the Indians in his honor in 1912 or so.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    pete: “I would love to know if native americans are as offended by the kansas city chiefs or the washington redskins. Or if Scandinavians have anything against the minnesota vikings. Or are we the only place where people just love to be offended? Political correctness gone mad. American football is a full contact, and a times violent sport. They can hardly call themselves the Irish Fairies, can they?”

    As who is offended by what, its a mixed bag. Indian mascots are tricky — the Seminoles are proud of the Florida team of the same name — the sponsor university has its roots in educating Seminoles, while other, such as Chief Wahoo of the Cleaveland Indians, enjoy less congenial relations. That said, the St, John’s Redmen changed thier name over complaints and *THAT* name has nothing to do with Native Americans — it refers to the red “union suit” woolens they would wear… but, lest some ignoramus be offended, it got changed.

    Then there is “Colonel Reb,” the much beloved, yet oft maligned, mascot of the University of Mississippi…

    Arguably, one could blame it on the Sand Diego Chicken, who what made these cartoony mascots popular…

  • kensei

    “I don’t think that Notre Dame do this. That mascot certainly is derogatory and paints a picture of Irish who are literally prepared to fight. Maybe ‘the Irish’ should be asked if that mascot is demeaning.”

    I have never had a problem with it. I have always kind of associated it with the US Army regiments, and there those qualities are positive.

    It’s kind of like “Step on us, and we’ll fight back stronger and harder than anyone else.”

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Darth Rumsfeld: “Had he been spared, Ulster Scot Stonewall Jackson would mhave whupped their collective Noo Yawk asses. ”

    Too bad he was shot down by one of his own men, likely an Ulster Scot…

    Chris Donnelly: “Don’t get them started on ‘The Volunteers’ of Tennessee…. ”

    Nothin’ sucks like a big Orange… *grin*

    Harpo: ” None of them actually have any native American involvement in their history, but you still have the names like Redskins, Chiefs, Braves, Indians being used”

    Not so. Check out the Seminoles…

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Too bad he was shot down by one of his own men, likely an Ulster Scot…”
    indeed- not exactly an unknown experience for us

    BTW check out the Syracuse teams’s website-“ExtremeOrange”-sadly not as promising as the name suggests

  • DK

    DR “The Fighting 69th?
    Had he been spared, Ulster Scot Stonewall Jackson would mhave whupped their collective Noo Yawk asses”

    The 69th were the ones who were slaughtered as part of a human wave attack on a prepared confederate position which was manned, ironically, by other Irish-Americans (Rebels vs Unionists in 1862).

  • Dread Cthulhu

    DK: “The 69th were the ones who were slaughtered as part of a human wave attack on a prepared confederate position which was manned, ironically, by other Irish-Americans (Rebels vs Unionists in 1862). ”

    Story of the war — best tactic was to find a strategically placed defensible position and wait for the other guy to try and force you out of your fortifications.

    Kinda makes you wonder why the same strategic vision plodded along into the twentieth century and the human wave attacks against machineguns and mortars, given how well it worked when breech-loading rifles and cannon were new.

  • American Guy

    Does anyone find it intersting that Notre Dame is a French institution founded by a Frenchman? I like to remind ND fans of that when they wave their green and yellow flags with that leprachaun on it. “Where’s the Fleur de Lille?”
    Americans love logos and teams and associating themselves with “clubs” or groups. The “Irish” AMericans are no different than the “Italians” or the “Germans” in that we are an immigrant country and the immigrants banded together in ghettos and neighborhoods and bouroughs for support. The idea of logos and teams is very much an American passion. To associate with a team – then a heritage – then a religion, that is why Notre Dame is so popular. You can be a Chicago White Sox fan and that may mean you are from South Chicago, but to wrap it all into one, that is why ND makes the money. There are few other schools like Notre Dame in America. Maybe BYU – a Mormon university. They associate a religion with a region (Utah) and a football team. There are just more Catholics and Irish ancestored Americans than Mormons around.
    I too associate somewhat with the coutries where my Grandfather’s set sail from 3 generations ago. I also appreciate that I am no more a Norwegian than any other 3rd generation American is an Irishman. But the Irish do a very fine job of associating with their departed kin. I’ve taken a drink in an “Irish” pub in many countries. Has it been commercialized? Sure. Is it still fun? Yes. Can you find good in it? Why not?