Notre Dame: Critics Don’t Know Best

Photo from Wikipedia:The football stadium at Notre Dame.

Nicole Kappelman, Assistant Sports Editor

Naturally, after watching the 2013 NCAA National Championship game last year, critics of the media Notre Dame in general were the first ones to jump on the team. Things were said like “they never belonged there in the first place” and “they were outmatched.”  I think it’s pretty safe to say that no matter what Notre Dame does, people are the first to point fingers at the football program and even the university in general.
It could be something positive that the football program does, like firing Charlie Weis in 2009, and immediately the media finds some way to turn it around. It really is either a love or hate relationship.

While I’ve never tried to convince anyone to become a fan, I’ve always had a hard time understanding why people are so against the Irish. The university promotes a great educational program and seeks for students to aim higher. The football program has become one of the top teams in the country over the past few years, as well.

Sure, there was the whole Manti Te’o “scandal” last year… Something I don’t even want to talk about, but it probably needs to be addressed first to clear up the air. Honestly, though, who really cares?  The only ones who did were the media. They obsessed over the incident, doing countless interviews with the former Irish linebacker. Their fixation over the whole hoax lured in audiences, and their opinions turned those who were already against Notre Dame to hate them even more.

The whole media frenzy idea went overboard and ended up taking things further than necessary. It seemed they took just about whatever ammunition they could and turned it against the Irish once again. The whole fascination with constantly ruining the image of Notre Dame was beginning to get a little out of hand, and frankly, it’s getting old.

Despite the setbacks that were faced a few years ago when Weis and Tyrone Willingham were there, acquiring Brian Kelly in the 2010 season was one of the best things to happen for the Irish. Even when something good happens on the field, though, the cameras immediately go to Kelly’s reaction after a play, just waiting for him to mess up and yell at one of his players.

Why the media is so fascinated with Kelly’s play-by-play reactions is something I’ve never understood. Who cares? It’s a football game. Why don’t we concentrate on the actual people playing and their accomplishments instead?

It seems that people are always trying to bring the Irish down, even those fans who have no reason to hate do. Understandably said, if you’re a Michigan fan, then by all means, hate us…we hate you too. Rivalries are understandable, but to disagree with a team just because you “don’t like them” seems a little extreme. So they’re not you’re favorite team − that’s fine. You don’t hear Irish fans going around and bashing other teams just because they can. It’s college football.  Athletes work hard to get there, so why don’t we show a little respect instead of bashing them whenever possible?

I’ll be the first one there to defend Notre Dame. Whether it’s the football program or the university in general, I will stick up for that school no matter what anyone says. Between the Fighting Irish band playing in my house on game days, going to football games in the bitter cold, cheering on my Irish and being tossed in the air for push-ups after touchdowns, one might say I’m a little bit biased.

But then again, isn’t everyone when it comes to “their” team?  So not everyone is a fan of the Irish − big deal. We can’t please everyone.

Nicole Kappleman is the sports editor for the Flyer.

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