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Don’t gripe about new Victory March lyrics when half the stadium has always sung it wrong

Please indulge my soapbox rant

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 02 Cincinnati at Notre Dame Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I understand that not every Notre Dame student has as much school spirit as me. I’m sure I was in the minority of students who spent their precious summer time before their first college semester studying up on the history of Notre Dame football and memorizing the fight song.

Although, in my defense, the Zahm House Red Book — the introductory “manual” that the Zahm Welcome Weekend committee would send to all incoming students — said that there were three “Songs to Permanently Engrain in Your Memory”: “Notre Dame, Our Mother” (the Alma Mater), the Victory March, and “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede. So I did just that.

And then I started going to games as a student. And as I sat there in the student section, it didn’t take me long to realize that a lot of students hadn’t bothered to learn the fight song. And, if they did, they had only learned the chorus.

Because every time — EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. — that the marching band strikes up that song, the majority of inebriated and/or apathetic college students start singing “cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame” when the ACTUAL first lyrics of the song are “Rally sons of Notre Dame.” If this comes as a revelation to you, that’s right, there are TWO WHOLE VERSES that are sung BEFORE the chorus. Imagine that.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 11 Toledo at Notre Dame Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

So, when you start complaining about the sanctity of the Notre Dame fight song being ruined by amending two bars, maybe you should be complaining about the “so-called fans who can’t be bothered to show Our Lady’s university some respect by actually learning the ‘Greatest of all University Fight Songs: The Notre Dame Victory March!’”

To be blunt, I could give a crap about the university changing the lyrics to be more inclusive towards women, seeing as women have been allowed as students since 1972. (Although I must say the timing of this seems strange. I wasn’t exactly hearing a clamor at this moment for fixing the fight song lyrics. On the other hand, I was seeing plenty of outrage about the fact that Notre Dame employs a birther conspiracist who was just cited in a mass shooter’s manifesto. But that’s neither here nor there.)

The point is, if you have a problem with the lyrics changing, I understand where you are coming from. It’s an iconic fight song, and those two bars that were amended — “while her loyal sons are marching/onward to victory” — are a couple of really good soundbites.

But maybe you can take solace in the fact that — as one commenter on this site so accurately observed — the first line of the song still only refers to the “sons of Notre Dame.”

And no, I don’t think we need to go a step further and change that first line as well. I’m sure there are several people out there who are pleased that Notre Dame finally made a change to “recognize” female students, and I don’t want to diminish that, but this whole thing strikes me as a strategic distraction.

This is the kind of frivolous issue on which the university administration is willing to acquiesce to appease a disgruntled minority and, in so doing, distract from real issues permeating the school from top to bottom. See, e.g., the aforementioned professor. Plus, it’s just unimportant in the grand scheme of things, because this is nothing more than a cosmetic change.

It’s like scheduling Tennessee State, the first FCS opponent in Notre Dame football’s history. That’s a decision I’m actually peeved about because 1) Notre Dame could always counter the “13th data point” argument by pointing out that they never play an FCS opponent while virtually every SEC team does, 2) the “exposure” TSU will get from the game is blown out of proportion, 3) Notre Dame is in another stratosphere from this particular FCS program (i.e., if they scheduled a program like North Dakota State, it would be a wildly different story) and 4) it adds insult to injury that USC will now be the only program to have never played an FCS school.

But with that said, I’m not up in arms about it. The FBS/FCS distinction has only been around for a couple of decades, crappy scheduling is par for the course in college football and the impact will be nullified when the College Football Playoff inevitably expands. My point is, there are bigger things to worry about. As a wise man once said, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

So get over yourselves. Don’t be a snowflake, cause there are more than enough of those every South Bend winter anyway.

And just to be safe, here’s the full Fight Song for everyone’s edification:

Rally sons of Notre Dame,
Sing her glory and sound her fame.
Raise her Gold and Blue,
And cheer with voices true,
Rah, rah for Notre Dame.

We will fight in ev’ry game,
Strong of heart and true to her name.
We will ne’er forget her,
And we’ll cheer her ever,
Loyal to Notre Dame.

Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame,
Wake up the echoes cheering her name.
Send a volley cheer on high,
Shake down the thunder from the sky.
What though the odds be great or small,
Old Notre Dame will win over all,
While her loyal sons & daughters,
March on to victory.

And, just for kicks, here’s “Hooked on a Feeling”:

Ooga-chaka, ooga-ooga
Ooga-chaka, ooga-ooga
Ooga-chaka, ooga-ooga
Ooga-chaka, ooga-ooga

I can’t stop this feeling
Deep inside of me
Girl, you just don’t realize
What you do to me

When you hold me
In your arms so tight
You let me know
Everything’s all right

I’m hooked on a feeling
I’m high on believing
That you’re in love with me...