When Monday morning came I got up at 6:30 a.m., rode my bike over to the computer lab, typed out “GO IRISH! KILL SOUTHERN CAL!” in size 72 font, printed out fifty copies, and taped them all to the walls outside DeBartolo Hall where I knew the football players usually congregated before their morning classes. I figured my efforts would start the week off right with some early hype. Unfortunately, when I returned at 8:30 a.m. for my first class only torn shreds of paper remained taped to the walls. The building managers must have taken their jobs a little too seriously that morning. Maybe one of them had a case of the Mondays. Frustrated, but not nearly ready to quit, I used the time I spent in class that day planning better ways to build more hype.
That afternoon I hosted a meeting of the minds with my two close friends Grant Schmidt and Aaron Hernandez, who happened to be the Student Body President and the Drum Major for the Band of the Fighting Irish. We came together to build a unified front, determined to use our leadership positions to make this a week our fellow students would never forget. The grassroots strategy we devised would hopefully empower the whole student body to take over our hype-building efforts by the end of the week. Rather than a packaged promotions plan coming down from upstairs, the end result would grow organically from the bottom up into something much more genuine. That way our entire Notre Dame Family would have no choice but to believe the hype.
Grant, Aaron, and I began “Beat SC Week” by coordinating a massive communications campaign, run mostly through social media and open letters to the student body. We would get the party started, then sit back to watch the hype spread from person to person until it covered our whole campus. Getting to work right away, we invited our fellow students to join us in conveying our collective belief through posters, signs, banners, and by any other means necessary. We only asked that they keep their anti-Trojan, pro-Irish propaganda classy. Finally, we scheduled several unofficial student-run events, including a “Southern Cal Meet-n-Greet” meant to “welcome” our opponents when they first arrived for their Friday walk-through practice. We also promised to add an extra kick to our Friday night pep-rally and our midnight drum circle, courtesy of our homemade Trojan Horse and some amateur pyrotechnics.
As far as I was concerned, we were at war. In this battle of good versus evil, I wouldn’t surrender until I did all that I could to help the good guys come out on top. That night I sent the first of several wartime propaganda letters out to my entire Notre Dame Family:
This is our moment of truth. We must wake up the echoes. We must let everyone know we believe. All of us have a role to play in our upcoming battle against the Trojans of Southern Cal.
Students: Step up your efforts to create as much hype as possible. Post signs. Hang banners. Write on sidewalks. It’s midterm week. What better way to procrastinate? Do all that you can to energize your classmates. Don’t be afraid to let our football team know you believe. Share a friendly “Go Irish!” or better yet a “Kill Southern Cal!” with every football player you encounter.
Fans: Wear green to campus this weekend. Get loud at the rally on Friday, then come to the drum circle on the steps of the Golden Dome at midnight. Stand up and scream from the very first moment you enter Notre Dame Stadium until the final whistle when we rush onto the most sacred of all football fields. I’ll see you on the 50 yard line. Look for the guy dressed in green with pure triumphant joy written all over his face.
GO IRISH! KILL SOUTHERN CAL!
-Your Fightin’ Irish Leprechaun