This past weekend I traveled to San Diego to watch the Notre Dame Fighting Irish face a classic rival, the Navy Midshipmen. And once again, time with my fellow classmates strengthened the definition of the phrase “Notre Dame family.” What follows is a guest post from my fellow classmate, and dear friend, Oscar McBride. Take it away, Oscar!
“As my family and I enjoyed the most recent Notre Dame weekend in San Diego, I was reminded of the bountiful blessings I’ve received through relationship with my teammates and Notre Dame family. Taking it all in, as I attended only my fourth tailgate ever, I felt as if my cup was filled with love and pride in seeing some of my teammates: Reggie Brooks (Ready B), Bert Berry (B Train), Lee Becton (Beck), Jeremy Akers (Aches & Pains), Reggie Fleurima (Big Flo), LeShane Saddler (Sadds), and Nick Smith (Natty) to name a few, And then, having time to fellowship with some of my other Notre Dame brothers like John Carney, Kory Minor, Joey Getherall, Rhema McKnight, Shane Walton, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Joe Schmidt and Darius Fleming, amongst others. Finally, meeting people that I’ve only chatted with on social media who have become extended Notre Dame family like Mr. & Mrs. Steve Neuman, and seeing my Notre Dame sisters Lisa, Lynne, Amy, Mary, Michele and Kristi.”
“Yes, it was a Notre Dame Football weekend, and yes we wanted to win, but there’s always something a little different about a Navy game.”
“Allow me to further explain …”
“You see, the United States Naval Academy and the University of Notre Dame Du Lac share something deeper than just a rivalry football game dating back to 1927. They share a foundational bond in building life-long relationships and trust-based leadership, forged through academic rigor, incomparable physical toughness, and fortified with a genuine love for community and each other. This rivalry doesn’t concern itself with the normal hate-filled, ill-willed, juvenile nastiness of today’s sports world; but rather a competition between those destined for greatness; prepared to change the world by employing leadership consummate with the right amounts of influence, empowerment, inclusiveness and love. Ours is one of respect and dignity, where even though we want to defeat our opponent, there is still that fundamental support for his or her success and well-being. This is all galvanized by a sense of duty to community, selflessness and a commitment to excellence.”
“I have tremendous respect for the United States Naval Academy and all of our Armed Forces. Thank you for your selflessness, kindness and humanness. You have essentially exchanged your life for those you don’t even know. I mentioned once, a while ago, about a chance meeting with a serviceman outside my hotel in Great Falls, Montana. As he briskly walked to his vehicle, undoubtedly on his way to work; I simply said (as I often do), ‘thank you for your service,’ to which he replied, without breaking stride or hesitation, ‘you’re worth it.’”
“Insert chills and single teardrop here.”
“To close, let me reiterate; Notre Dame is just different. There is a distinction in how this uniquely phenomenal institution asserts its pride and respect. We understand that our humanness and solidarity as a community is what makes us great. Not a cheapened, divisive slogan, but rather true strength, love of community, and family. Money, power, and political status may be impactful for those who have shallow reach in terms of their ethical boundaries and values. However, the depth and breadth of Notre Dame extends far beyond any tailgate, any parking lot, or any game; regardless of stadium attendance or the final score. God, Family, Country, Notre Dame … forever.”
Oscar McBride ‘94
Cheers & GO IRISH!