I have already read several of your emails tonight regarding the sickening performance of our team against B.C.
(Notice attached audio file, first in series of Flame's Fireside Chats)
The polls were not long closed on November 4, 2008 when Class President Tom Weyer received the call he had been expecting. No text message this time: the newly elected chief executive was on the phone. Would our president, with his 25 years of leadership, his experience in high office, and his Chicago connections, assist the new administration with planning for the inauguration on January 20, 2009? Beside Tom in the kitchen of their Oak Brook home, Mary Weyer tensed and signaled her approval as she took one of Tom’s hands in her own. Tom knew what to say: yes, Mary would give the meatloaf recipe to the White House chef for the inaugural banquet. Yes, he would advise the president’s staff about all the details of the ceremony, including the possibility that Mike Minton would make short remarks about the accomplishments of his own year in office. Wisely, Tom made a mental note for a conversation about the security detail needed for Brian McManus during that part of the program. This was a time for the country to come together and respect the outcome of the democratic process, just as the freshman quad had settled in support of the Texas Senators John Darrouzet and Mike Crutcher many years before. Too bad Chuck Grable would not be around for a slide across a muddy White House lawn. Before they concluded, Tom extracted a promise: the Class of 1968 would be able to tailgate on the grounds. If he promised to have it pressed and to share it with Chris Manion, Congressman Rahm Emanuel would be able to use the Elvis suit.
At the site http://www.ndclass1968.com, our class blog includes a podcast of Tom Weyer’s seasonal Presidential greeting, the first in a series of Flame’s Fireside Chats. The site also includes photos and notes too lengthy or too sensitive for inclusion in this printed report.
Larry “Monk” Forness, now of Granger, IN, has been including me in emails that circulate among the athletes who made use of the Brownson Hall gym established by Father Bernard Lange, C.S.C., who was the world’s fourth strongest man at one time. On the blog, you can find some correspondence prompted by the recent football performances. A daughter of Paul Gill’70 designed a web site that attests to the importance Father Lange still holds for this big group. The site is www.frlangesgym.com. Bonus correspondence came from Mike Burgener, the Californian who is now retired as a strength coach but is, in other respects, still our full strength classmate, replete with a newly installed knee. He’ll be traveling to Notre Dame on his Harley in June. In the meantime, he is applauding his children as they make their own Burgener marks: “Son Casey made the 2008 Olympic team as an Olympic lifter in the super heavyweight division… Casey will be getting married in June to Nalalie Woolfolk who was an Olympian in the 63 kg class and whose dad was the strength coach at ND under Holtz!!! I get the first born!!! Son no. 2 Beau Jackson Burgener. . . is on his way to being a Navy Seal. ONE PROUD PAPA!!!!”
Sandy Carrigan sent photos with an email describing his experience in Chiapas, Mexico as part of a group establishing a dental clinic. “One woman who was 70 years of age walked two and a half hours to have 26 teeth pulled, and then she walked back home…barefoot. Normally in the US one dentist can expect to serve 1000 people. The two dentists in our clinic would serve an area of roughly 25,000 mostly indigenous farmers. These people are desperately poor. The poor of America live a life that the indigenous of Chiapas could only dream of. They have nothing, but gladly give everything. It is truly amazing.”
While Mike Burgener was preparing his assault from the West, Eddie Kurtz headed in from New Orleans, making his first trip back to Notre Dame in decades. John Walsh sent a report: “We tailgated with the Dalys and Kevin's excellent grilled steak sandwiches behind the bookstore, then joined the ‘Great '68’ tailgate with Tom Gibbs, Bryan Dunigan, (Chicago) Tom McKenna and son Liam, Roger Guerin, Tom Weyer & family, Brian Sullivan, Gene Cavanaugh, Jerry Cherubini, Bob Ptak. A tremendous, sunny day at ND Stadium. Into the mix for the after-game victory dinner add Shaun Reynolds, who drove over for the night and stayed with Hirschboecks' with us.”
Jim Davis forwarded Bill Clifford’s great memory of freshman George Restovich, who died in Rochester, MN on October 3, 2008: “During the first weeks of our freshman year a crowd inexplicably gathers at Cartier Field for an impromptu pep rally. Some obnoxious senior starts berating the assembled freshmen. George Restovich is summoned from out of the freshman crowd, and ordered to lead the freshman in a cheer. George is caught off guard, and unprepared. After a pause, he asks if there are any Latin scholars among the assembled freshman. No response. George then announces that he has a Latin cheer for us. “Hic haec hoc, hic haec hoc, hit em in the belly with a big lead rock”. The crowd goes wild…. Ara’s reign is launched. George had charisma from day one.”
Please send notes to: Tom Figel, 1054 West North Shore, Apt. 3-E, Chicago, IL 60626, tel. 312-223-9536 x301, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thought you would be interested to read what a couple of fellow Lead Heads have said in reply to my impassioned email. Jan is owner of a big health care facility in NJ, and Paul is an ER physician.
Date: Monday, November 10, 2008, 2:49 PM
Not that I have any clue how the world works, but it appears that ND is succumbing to the trend in America (and perhaps elsewhere, but here is where I live) in that those with any power at any level please only those directly in their sphere and have little regard for the greater good of those that they should be beholding to. They completely forget who brungʼem to the dance. They screw people and say it is only business, as if business were not made of people, real live breathing folks. They take credit when something randomly happens that appears to be good for the moment and immediately blame others when things go sour. Or worse yet, try to make you believe it wasnʼt so bad.
Rationalization rather than realization rules. Let me try to convince you, spin it rather than admit it was a screw up and needs fixing. They talk the talk, but wonʼt and are incapable of walking the walk.
Humans are secondary to amorphous concepts of success. And success is only measured in dollars. Worse yet immediate dollars. Relationships with any depth are getting more and rarer.
Basically it seems that America and our institutions like ND are loosing their soul and are not concerned with fostering genuine creativity and a national or local spirit. The future is defined as this quarter and not our great grandchildren. Tradition goes out the window and as it does so goes the roots that nourished it in the first place.
Getting concrete, having phenomenal athletic teams is not mutually exclusive to having outstanding academics. They are complimentary. Athletics requires its own innate intelligence. Rather than reject athletes who are not quite there academically, why not take a few and help make them improve their academics and benefit from their skills as well. Have ND looked at as an institution that not only helps disadvantaged in other countries like the commercial shows, but to take a handful of real live Americans and help them hone their innate skills and develop other life skills as well. There are tremendous lessons to be learned and taught on the field as well as the classroom.
The most inspired performance the team showed was against Michigan and who was there to light that fire? Dr. Lou.
Like I said at first (if anybody made it this far through my ranting and rambling) I can be way off base here, but that is the way it feels to me over the last few years as I look out over the landscape here and wonder what they hell is going on. Does anyone really give a rats ass about actually doing something great rather than making whatever trivial bullshit they do try to seem great.
And in the famous words of Austin Powers, Iʼm spent.
Mr. Jan DeBenedetto
Senior Vice President Business Development
Vitaquest International, Inc.
West Caldwell, New JerseyFrom Paul Gill
Subject: Re: Weis has GOT to be fired, etc.
This seems to be a common theme: an administration who sends out pleas for $$ on an almost monthly basis, but has no other use for its alums. I never received a response from Kerry Temple at ND MAGAZINE (an email and a letter), nor did I hear from Chuck Lennon.
Funny thing is, over the years I wrote Fr.Hesburgh on a number of topics, and he responded to every single one of my letters. Now if Fr.Ted had time to pen a response to me, how come these other people don't? I shudder to think what it would take to get a statue of Fr.Lange approved by this group of self-important snobs. (By the way, Fr.Lange had no use for the ND administration either.)