I want to comb through Rudy quotes and talk about overcoming adversity. I would like to tell you that the first game never goes well in the movies, but then the team, driven by their failure, works twice as hard and takes it all in the end.
I even considered explaining that Saturday might not have proven the strength of our team, but it showed the heart of our students, who waited all day in the rain just to have their hearts broken.
I wish I could talk to you about those things. There must be a silver lining in there somewhere.
Instead, I'd like to talk to you about Skip Holtz.
I don't mean to rub salt in the wound. I realize that Holtz is the man who facilitated Saturday's devastation. He crushed our hope before it could even begin to rise.
Consider, though, the man's story. As a senior in high school, he didn't get into Notre Dame. He enrolled in Holy Cross and worked to get his grades up until he was able to transfer here as a junior and walk-on to the football team as a senior. He never caught a pass but rushed a single yard. It sounds like a story you might have heard before.
Holtz worked under his father as a part of the Irish coaching staff in the early 90's. Notre Dame is undeniably his home, and yet yesterday he had to walk in as our enemy. He walked in against a tradition he loved with a young football program and succeeded in something we wish wasn't even a possibility - he won.
It was a long and emotionally exhausting day for those of us who love Notre Dame. As I stood there during the postgame press conference, I realized that group includes Skip Holtz. He took the podium, red in the face like maybe he had cried. He spoke with utmost sincerity about two things: how proud he was of his players and how much he respected Notre Dame.
The man deserves to be proud of his players. But it was his love of Notre Dame that shook me. Holtz talked about how many memories he had in our stadium, how he had seen his old dorm on campus, and how he lit a candle at the Grotto. He said he got through college by lighting candles at the Grotto.
I hope with all my broken heart that a silver lining emerges sometime in the next few weeks. But if it doesn't, I want you to know that this place is something special. It fosters in people a love and respect that lasts a lifetime, no matter the circumstances. Skip Holtz is a Notre Dame man, and yesterday he made me proud to be of this place.
We all get through college by lighting candles at the Grotto.
- Lauren Chval