Notre Dame Wins One for What Remains of the Gipper
Pre-skeletal George Gipp as played by pre-Presidential Ronald Reagan.
SOUTH BEND, IN (Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) — Failing to win one for the Gipper -- or what remains of the fabled, long-dead George Gipp -- just wasn't an option, at least not according to embattled Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis.
Weis described their decisive 28-7 win over the Duke Blue Devils as the culmination of an emotional week, after it was learned that the skeletal remains of the legendary George Gipp had been dug up after moldering in the ground for the previous 87 years. Gipp, a native of Larium in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, was exhumed last week from Lakeview Cemetery near Calumet, Mich., in connection with an upcoming book on Gipp's life.
"When we first heard they'd unearthed his remains, I reacted just like everyone else, thinking, boy, that's pretty creepy," said Weis. "Some of the freshman were shaken at the thought of George Gipp, a true Notre Dame legend, reduced to a pile of old bones. Actually, it affected everyone, even the coaching staff – when you’re 1-9, the prospect of eternal sleep – or, at very least, a lengthy nap – suddenly becomes an attractive alternative. One of our special teams guys, an overly emotional Lit major, started telling everyone it’s a metaphor for the season. Little sumbitch. Give me a linebacker corp of theologians over a Lit major any day. So yes, the bones became a major distraction -- why they couldn’t just leave those damn things in the ground I’ll never know.”
According to eyewitnesses, it was Weis’ brief speech during the traditional Friday night team dinner that finally turned things – and possibly the season -- around. (Well, maybe not the season, which is in its final terminal stages regardless of what the Irish do in their remaining games.)
“If those old bones could talk,” he said, examining a drumstick and wishbone for theatrical emphasis, “does anyone doubt for a second what they’d say?”
“Win one for the Gipper?” asked a solitary voice, breaking several seconds of tense silence.
“What was that, son?”
“Uh, um…win one for the Gipper?”
“No, dumbass, win another one for the Gipper!”
Irish QB Jimmy Clausen went on to throw for 194 yards and three touchdowns to lead Notre Dame to a 28-7 victory over the Duke Blue Devils in a non-conference clash in South Bend. The Irish tallied 414 total yards of offense, including 220 on the ground.
After the game, players were asked to what extent they owed their thoroughly dominating performance to the words attributed to the long-dead George Gipp.
“Zero,” said Clausen. “I don’t mean any disrespect, but I wouldn’t know the Gipper if those bones reassembled themselves and walked through that door. We know who the guy was and everything, but why would I or any of my team mates bust our butts for a bunch of bones that’s been in the ground for over 80 years? I’d as soon found inspiration in a half-eaten bucket of baby back ribs – which is sounding awfully good right about now.”
Clay Felker, the Lit major who incurred Coach Weis’ wrath, went even further, dismissing Gipp’s legendary words as “a crude pr stunt invented by a desperate Knute Rockne and perpetrated by the Hollywood myth machine.”
“Hey, the real George Gipp might have been a good guy, but when’s the last time you’ve actually seen the movie? If it’s been a while, imagine a fourth-rate actor with a pompadour that looked like a 50’s nuclear warhead – Ronald Reagan – saying the following, and try not to laugh: ‘I've got to go, Rock. It's all right. I'm not afraid. Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys, ask them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be then, Rock. But I'll know about it, and I'll be happy.’ The guy deserved a break, specifically a better screenwriter.”
Coach Weis remained adamant in attributing his team’s rekindled passion to the Gipper’s stirring, albeit hypothetical exhortation. In fact, Weis is petitioning to have Gipp’s femur enshrined and placed in a trophy case outside his office, as a perpetual reminder of the Gipper’s eternal fighting spirit.
“Well, that’s a thought,” said a well-connected Irish alum and supporter, cryptically adding, “but before we act on any of Coach Weis’ suggestions, we should await the post-mortem following the season, easily the grisliest I can remember. We kind of already know the cause of death…it’s just a matter of figuring out how to dispose of the body.”
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