As you know, I am working on a book on early (1887-1917) ND Football...
The research has been great fun. Here are some assorted tidbits that I have found in old issues of the SCHOLASTIC:
Notre Dame's College cheer, “Rah, Rah! Nostra Domina” was adopted by the students of the senior department
I prefer “Here Come the Irish” and “Goooooooooo IRISH!”
We played our first varsity football game on November, 23, 1887. Not long afterwards, the team played an intra-squad game.
—Only one inning was played in the Rugby football game Thursday, which resulted favorably to Captain Houck's eleven.
Note that the baseball term of “inning” was used rather than the football term of “quarter”. Note also that the sport was called “Rugby”!
From March of 1889:
—Old students may be interested in the news that there is talk of using the Matteson House of Chicago as temporary headquarters for the first regiment of Illinois. The hotel has been vacant for several years, but was formerly a rendezvous for Notre Dame collegians.
Hmmm. I wonder what is meant by this.
Often mentioned in the late 1880’s and early 1900’s:
—Joe Rowan has joined the ranks of the Benedicts.
This meant that poor Joe had gotten married.
—I feel that I am striking on a worn-out string when I speak of college songs. But the question is so pertinent a one, and we are so woefully in the background with a supply of them that it is now high time that we should take the matter up. For years we have had men that could turn a rime with the best of college verse writers, but not many song writers. And this minority have turned out a few stanzas on the glory of the University— stanzas, that were destined to die in their infancy. To me it seems that the pleasure of hearing one's song sung by his fellows is honour, indeed. But there should be some consideration held out that we might let our best men working along this kind of verse. It is true that a good sonneteer is often a poor song writer, but yet we call on those that have been touched by the fire of the poet. Then would we have; college songs that we would feel proud to sing.
How ironic that the school with the GREATEST fight song, was written up as sadly lacking for one, a half dozen years before the Shea Brothers wrote “The Victory March”. Since they were both in school at the time of this comment and the ALL students read the SCHOLASTIC in those days, perhaps this writer spurred them on. Incidentally, I found many references about the need for us to have a school “cheer”; a school song; and MORE spirit at the games!
From 1913, written by the Chicago Tribune’s Ring W. Lardner, one of the top handful of sportswriters of all time:
Having carefully studied Notre Dame's gridiron and baseball records, the "big Nine" unanimously voted not to admit the Catholics to the Conference.
This was after the Western Conference (AKA-Big Nine) turned down the Irish for the first time.
Ring also wrote, in 1913:
And Notre Dame you thoroughly convinced me You were there. You whipped each tough opponent with a bunch of points to spare. And if 'twere up to me to pick the country's all-star team, I'd have old Gold and Blue for my prevailing color scheme.
The game of football was played far differently in the early days. Arguably, our two greatest victories of our first 37 years were of Michigan, in 1909, and Army, in 1913. The Michigan win, which caused the Wolverines to cancel our 1910 game while we were heading for the train station (!) put us on the Midwest map. It was the first time we had ever defeated them. The Army game, which featured our use of the forward pass (and made Dorais and Rockne famous), put us on the national map:
During the 1909 defeat of Michigan, our only sub was Maloney for Collins at RE.
During our 1913 defeat of Army, our only sub was Larkin for Finegan, at LH.
I found this note in a May 2, 1947 issue of the SCHOLASTIC:
Notre Dame has had three pictures in the Collegiate Digest, that tabloid discreetly inserted into the SCHOLASTIC- Number one was of a football game. Number two was of a weight lifter. Number three was of the Bengal Bouts. Is this a plot to carry on in the public eye Notre Dame's great tradition of "the university attached to a stadium."
I am certain that these pictures and the humorous comment was NEVER forgotten by Fr. Ted!