I cannot smile upon any attempt to change The Greatest of All Fight Songs for the sake of politically correct whining. I thought we got beyond this gender-neutral nonsense years ago.
But our terrible football season at Notre Dame must be contributing to the insanity. I read with only slight alarm this mother-daughter tag-team letter to the daily student newspaper of my Alma Mater, advocating the desecration of our Victory March:
The student body finished off the fight song with, “while her loyal sons are marching onward to victory.” Our family, however, finished it off with, “while her loyal sons and daughters march on to victory.”
You can technically force those lyrics into the song’s tune, but it requires a cudgel to do so. If it was tried in the past as the writers suggest, then I can see why it did not catch on.
As one of the writers is too old, and the other far too young to know, I will fill them in on something they mention in their letter: Notre Dame men pump their fists and shout at the line, “While her loyal SONS are marching.” Why is that? It began when I was at Notre Dame (mid–90′s) as a small way of resisting some previous lame-brained attempt to make the fight song gender-neutral. Later on, the women — at least the ones with a sense of humor, who do not see life as a power struggle against men — began emphasizing the “HER” in “her loyal sons.”
Here is my plea to the writers of this letter, on behalf of hopelessly unenlightened patriarchalists everywhere: Notre Dame’s songs and traditions were not intended to make you feel good about yourself. Please leave them alone. So far, we have been forced to raise our fists on “Sons.” Don’t make us do something more drastic, like re-name the university after a man.