Thursday, January 06, 2005

Taking the red pill | by Dylan

Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.

What is there to say? For me, the events of the past month have taken on a sense of unreality. Pat, Michael, Sean, and Jay have summarized, analyzed, and eulogized below. This week, I think the operative word is crystallize. Two events have splashed cold water on my face and have brought the world into clearer focus. The haze is lifting. For the past 10 years we’ve felt it. We know it’s wrong, but it’s been so long, we’ve come to wonder if that isn’t the way the world really is. We’ve doubted. Well, the time for doubt has passed.

Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?

Watching USC, defunct (irrelevant, even) four short years ago, mercilessly dismantle the best college football program of the past five years should provide a glimpse of the possible (even probable) for Irish fans everywhere. Powerhouse programs left for dead come back. USC has just displaced the previous phoenix, Oklahoma. USC’s Orange Bowl performance was awe inspiring. Speed, strength, and execution. Big plays on offense, defense, and special teams. Three years ago, this team was closing the books on a three-year stretch during which they won seventeen and lost nineteen. Since then they have won thirty-six and lost three. They have won twenty-two in a row. My point is, USC’s resurgence is not a dream. It is the real world. Things can also change very quickly for Notre Dame. In fact, they already have. We have taken our first steps back into the real world.

Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Spoon boy: Then you'll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

The staff assembled by Charlie Weis, and the work already being done by that staff, is so radically different from anything that’s happened in our program in such a long time, it’s bracing. Younger fans may not understand. Banished is the notion that our football coach needs to be an arm of the Notre Dame Brand Protection Team. Our football coach is a football coach. He has hired a staff of freakish experience. They are going to go out and find football players and they are going to teach them to play football and they are not going to apologize to anyone. Nor are they going to subtly promote the idea that success in the classroom mitigates failure on the field. That is the paradigm we had settled into; one in which academic excellence and winning percentage were inversely proportional and eternally irreconcilable. To mix the metaphor a little, we were encouraged to believe that resistance was futile, that the natural order had ceased to be. Trying to comprehend why this current, ongoing shock to the system didn’t happen years ago is a spoon that we can’t bend, so now, there is no spoon.

Notre Dame is unplugged from The Monktrix, and it’s time to kick some ass.