Irish eyes shouldn’t be smiling
Despite having 39 of their players in quarantine and a mere 48 hours after reporting 18 new positive COVID tests, the Notre Dame football team resumed practice on Wednesday to prepare for an all-important, hardly-the-game-of-the-century against Florida State.
The 0-2 Seminoles sleepwalked their way through a 42-point beat down at the hands of in-state rival Miami.
The spread of the virus was reportedly traced back to the pre-game meal before the Golden Domers’ Sept 19 contest against South Florida. Evidently the restaurant serving the pre-game meal exceeded the 25 percent maximum occupancy limit, given the ravenously hungry Irish players.
Irish coach Brian Kelly went on the record, stating, “We had somebody who was asymptomatic, and it spread like wildfire throughout our meeting area where we were eating.”
I found this to be a particularly enlightening revelation coming from a school where their devoted alumni proudly refer to the iconic “Word of Life Mural” that adorns the campus library as “Touchdown Jesus.”
This news arrives the morning after a landmark presidential debate where the utter and unprecedented petulant behavior on full display from both candidates likely further divided an already fractured country.
This leaves me trying to decide on which of these events I should attempt to dignify with my opinion. After careful consideration, I will choose to admonish the Notre Dame football program as it appears to be the safer of the two options.
I’m a rock music fan and, upon hearing that football practice in South Bend will indeed proceed as planned, the lyrics from a classic Pink Floyd tune titled (appropriately enough) “The Show Must Go On” immediately popped into my head.
“There must be some mistake, I didn’t mean to let them take away my soul. Am I too old? Is it too late?”
I do willingly concede I am old and acknowledge that it is too late for some stuff (interpret that as you see fit) however there are certain things which occasionally cross the sports wire that lend credence to believing that a mistake has, in fact, been made.
And since I refuse to have my soul (or, in this case, my passion about the pandemic) compromised, it begs the question: With nearly half of its team in quarantine, why hasn’t Notre Dame already postponing what appears to be an otherwise meaningless contest with Florida State?
If the Irish’s Oct. 10 contest against these winless warriors from Tallahassee goes off as planned, does this not infer that the Notre Dame program is selling out?
In these extreme times, are they effectively telling us all that, “Hey, we’re contractually obligated to put a product on the field. Any postponement or cancellation could prevent us from cashing a big TV revenue check.”
At this stage, it appears it’s full steam ahead as far as the key decision makers in South Bend are concerned regarding a nationally televised game against what used to be considered to be a top-tier opponent despite the fact that nearly 40 percent of the players wearing the home team uniforms have tested positive for COVID-19.
Irish eyes are smiling all right, all the way to the bank.
It’s pretty evident to me that in South Bend and in the shadow of Touchdown Jesus, the show must always go on.
Contz was an offensive tackle on Penn State’s first national championship team in 1982 and played six NFL seasons. He published a book in 2017, “When the Lions Roared: Joe Paterno and One of College Football’s Greatest Teams.”