In the past generation, it was Buffalo Bill. For this generation, it was Knute Rockne. The boy had a great respect for Rockne, and Rockne for the boy. Each read the other's mind, and they were heroes to each other. Millions of boys (and men, girls and women) bow in grief at the news that Rockne is dead, because for millions he was greater than the president. --Cleveland Free Press
More than for any other coach in history, it could be said that Rockne and his boys positively affected one another. With the football team it was obvious; not only did Rockne (whose 105-12-5 record is still the best winning percentage in college football history) have a stellar impact on his lads both on the field and off, but his players' devotion to their faith (Rock marveled at how they attended early morning Mass even during the away games when there was no priest to prod them) directly led to a deepening of Rockne's own relationship with Christ, including Knute's conversion to Catholicism in 1925. But Rockne's flair inspiring kids—coupled with his ability to lead the Irish to victory—soon made him a role model for youth (both Catholic and not) across the country—and started a trend for devout (and athletic!) Catholic boys (and later girls) to attend Notre Dame that only recently has subsided.
Sports and the Catholic Fan") must be credited (along with then University president, Fr. O'Hara) with getting the faith and football combination rolling with the youth, this Catholic combo was probably perfected during the era of Rock's most successful successors, Frank Leahy. For by the late '40s, most of the nation's parochial school nuns were urging their charges to pray for Notre Dame every autumn Friday, for they knew this was the one religious obligation the boys would pursue with glee. Perhaps not coincidentally, Notre Dame not only was more in tune with the Catholic faith during that era, but won three National Championships (I still know some old timers who attended Notre Dame for four years and never saw the Irish lose) as well. In fact, Irish dominance during this era was so daunting that the University of Michigan simply quit playing Notre Dame, with Wolverine Coach Fritz Crisler citing Notre Dame's Catholicism as an "unfair competitive advantage," because "it meant every Catholic kid in the country followed and wanted to play for them."
Unfortunately, as we access the situation on the eve of the Obama invasion, this is clearly no longer the case. Currently, Notre Dame football has not won a National Championship since 1988 (not coincidentally, when the outspokenly devout Catholic, Lou Holtz, was still coach) but Fr. Jenkins, having continued the bartering begun by Fr. Hesburgh of Jesus for prestige and God for glory, has unwittingly handed the "unfair advantage" over to the mainstream media. Yes, Notre Dame now gets all the press coverage it could ever want—but at the cost of promoting the MSM message, including the deadly Obama agenda.
Given this fact, how does Notre Dame get Rockne's devoted truthful youthful legions back? Certainly the old model is broken; for not only do few nuns remain in the (fewer) Catholic schools, but many of the schools are run by lay boards no better than Notre Dame's, with teachers as likely to lead their students in a New Age rant or Wiccan chant as an Our Father or Hail Mary. But certainly Knute's way with youth must still work ... if given the right opportunity! So I searched the Rockne files for inspiration ...
"Will there be a Notre Dame next year!" I said to myself, frightened at this prophetic prospect, when Knute's new Notre Dame offense suddenly struck me. "Eddie stayed in the house, at home ... that's IT! Home-schooling is the new 'Old School' Catholic schooling!" I realized, and in an instant I was fleeing to catch the liturgy, to once again get the Notre Dame-youth ball rolling ...
I passed the nearby Catholic Church with the rich parishioners, instead opting for the more modest Church with Perpetual Adoration on the edge of town. After the Mass had ended, I headed to the back of church where a large family who attended Mass daily were still praying. Amazingly, as if by divine cue, the oldest daughter got up and began to walk toward me.
"Hello, Theresa." Although I had briefly met the family before, I was not exactly sure how old Theresa was, although I would guess she was about as old as Eddie, the boy in the story. After initially asking her to pray for my daughter Therese's water polo match, in which she was to face a tough opponent while sporting a sore shoulder (Theresa, you'll be happy to know that, thanks to your prayers, Therese scored three goals and played like a warrior!), I got down to business.
"Theresa, I'd also like you to pray for my school, Notre Dame. There's a problem ..."
"Oh yes! Obama's coming there to speak!" answered the well-informed youth, her serious eyes searching mine through her old-fashioned veil.
"Well, Theresa, since you already know, I'm sure you also know that's not a good thing. A lot of bad things are happening there, but there's still a lot of good people there fighting to save Notre Dame, and that's why I came to ask you to pray. It's a battle of good versus evil ... and you're on the side of good!"
Theresa smiled, a smile worth a thousand false Obama promises or twisted Jenkins' explanations. And if Theresa's smile was worth 1,000 enemy words, imagine how valuable a holy youth's prayers (combined with those of countless others) could be.
Valuable enough to get the "unfair advantage" back, eh, Knute?
All kids (with their parents!) are invited to a peaceful prayer procession (concerning Obama's appearance) at the University of Notre Dame this Sunday, April 5, at 2 p.m. EST. And don't forget to pray for Notre Dame!