Friday, June 29, 2007

Motivation from Knute Rockne

Stolen directly from Tom Roeser, who cannot tell a lie.

It brings to mind Knute Rockne who, as you know, was born in Norway a Protestant, was reared in Logan Square, attended Notre Dame, played football, taught chemistry there, became a football coach and converted to the Catholic faith. And as history records when he took over direction of the team, the then small college racked up impressive wins.

One of the most hotly fought contests was always between Notre Dame and Southern Methodist. “After several years, word reached the president of Notre Dame, Fr. Cavanaugh, that in firing up his team, Rockne was applying religious fervor to the game, telling his young players to defeat those Methodists for the honor and glory of the Catholic church.

“Fr. Cavanaugh was appalled at the lack of ecumenism. He called Rockne in and said that the next time Notre Dame plays Southern Methodist which would be in South Bend, Notre Dame would sponsor a joint ecumenical dinner for players of both teams on the night before the game. The priest ordered Rockne to deliver the keynote which would stress religious unity-and in the keynote this sentence would have to be incorporated: `God doesn’t care who wins the game between Notre Dame and Southern Methodist.’

“Rockne grudgingly agreed. When the schedule for Notre Dame to meet Southern Methodist came round, the two teams and their supporters met for dinner the night before the game in the main dining hall of Notre Dame. Fr. Cavanaugh introduced both coaches and then asked Coach Rockne to give the keynote.

“Rockne meandered a bit saying that the purpose of football is to build good sportsmanship, to use athletics to beat down animosity, to fight hard but also be gentlemen. Then he uttered the words Fr. Cavanaugh gave him: `After all, God doesn’t care who wins the game between Notre Dame and Southern Methodist.’

“There was a murmur of approval and a light scattering of applause.

Then Rockne added: `God doesn’t care who wins, but His Mother does!’

Interested in history and its effects on current events? Read Roeser daily.

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