The Fighting Irish

Jun 09, 2013

We have not always been "The Fighting Irish"...Note this editorial from the Scholastic...

Vol. 71 October 22. 1937 No. 5

"The Fighting Irish"

Editor’s note: Last week the sports publicity department released a request to the press to designate Notre Dame competitive teams by the time honored name, "Fighting-Irish." At a football testimonial banquet Rev. John Cavanaugh, C.S.C., former president of the University, more pointedly addressed the press to the same effect. THE SCHOLASTIC is happy to reprint herewith part of its own record on the subject from the issue of Oct. 25, 1929.

"THE term 'Fighting Irish' has been applied to Notre Dame teams for years. It first attached itself years ago when the school, comparatively unknown, sent its athletic teams away to play in another city. . . . At that time 'Fighting Irish' held no glory or prestige. . . .The years passed swiftly and the little school began to take a place in the sport world. . . . 'Fighting Irish' took on a new meaning. The unknown of a few years past had boldly taken a place among the leaders. The unkind appellation became symbolic of the struggle for supremacy on the field. . . . "The term, while given in irony, has become our heritage.  The implications of 'Fighting Irish' are too much like our own struggles for recognition to be easily ignored.  We are criticized on every side for using the term, but the critics gave us the name. They, too, see that it has more than one application. Too late they seek to retract what they gave in irony a few years ago.'  Realizing that the name 'Fighting Irish' has taken on a significance they never dreamed of, they now seek to disparage us with other terms. 'Wandering Nomads' we are called. 'Ramblers,' and 'Galloping Gaels,' and 'Fighting Irish-Italians' are made use of to describe us. None of the terms stick. We hope they will not. One by one the sport writers will come back grudgingly to the old name.  "The ethnologists object to the name on the grounds that the Irish are in the minority on the football field. The Savoldis, the Caridios, the Schwartz's, they say, are not Irish, and so are not fighting Irish. For that matter Yale men are not 'Bulldogs,' Wisconsin players are not 'Badgers,' or  Northwestern 'Wildcats.' Our name is merely an identifying one which has been glorified on many a field of battle. So truly does it represent us that we are unwilling to part with it. . . . "


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