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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Week 2 (2011): An Infinite Jest?

Everyone has heard the “Alas poor Yorick, I knew you well…” quote from Hamlet. Even the Accounting majors. Relatively few know the following line, “a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is…”

Fewer still probably know “Infinite Jest” also to be the title of a 1996 work of fiction by David Foster Wallace. Critically acclaimed – it’s a 1000+ page comic epic presenting a dystopian future world grounded primarily in New England rehab clinics, tennis academies, double agents and dysfunction all over the place.

But that’s not the point. Not yet, anyway.  As I was searching for anything to write about this week – such was the soul sucking nature of Saturday’s latest experiment in masochism – I came across a really interesting article written by the aforementioned Mr. Wallace - about Roger Federer after his 4th consecutive Wimbledon win.  Superbly written and with unusual insight – Mr. Wallace was a highly regarded tennis player as far as up to college – he describes “Federer Moments’ when watching Raja play… shots of such freakish skill and prescience that one’s jaw drops, eyes protrude and ‘sounds are made that bring spouses in from other rooms to see if you’re okay’.

With due respect and all proper attribution to Mr. Wallace, I’m taking those same reactions - for the entirely opposite reasons  - and renaming them ‘Notre Dame Moments’. 

And no, Lisa, I’m not okay.
But my imagination is similarly abhorred.

If Saturday’s Game was a movie poster, it’d be

Laugh. Cry. Hurl.  

Pretty much in that order.

Word of the Week

Desiccate.    des•ic•cate  verb \ˈde-si-ˌkāt\
                     des•ic•cat•ed des•ic•cat•ing

transitive verb 
1  : to dry up
2  : to preserve (a food) by drying : dehydrate
3  : to drain of emotional or intellectual vitality

— des•ic•ca•tion noun
— de•sic•ca•tive adjective
— des•ic•ca•tor noun

•           Latin desiccatus, past participle of desiccare to dry up, from de- + siccare to dry, from siccus dry 
•           First Known Use: 1575

Synonyms: castrate, damp, dampen, deaden, dehydrate, devitalize, enervate, geld, lobotomize, petrify
Antonyms: brace, energize, enliven, invigorate, quicken, stimulate, vitalize, vivify

Used in a sentence, “Notre Dame’s performance in the final 30 seconds desiccated young Terry to the point of rendering him catatonic.”

So what exactly is going on here? We know the team isn’t bad.  We can see talent.  And yet…

Here are a couple working theories:

I.   We’re Cursed!
"Mocked as Rudy, reincarnated as a blockbuster-driving hobbit.
Who's laughing now, ND Nation..."
                           a.   Sports-related theory

                           b.   Voodoo theory
"I call upon you, Amman Ra, to deliver me the ball recognition
skills of Clifford Jefferson into the body of Gary Gray!"

"I knew we should never have opened Flynn's trunk in Food Sales..."
                          c.  School-related theory

"Coach Kelly, I think Someone is screwing with us..." 

II.  Bad Karma  (aka 'ND as Cosmic Joke')

III.  Parallel Universe
The 801 St. Louis Home 
for High Potential Seminarians      

... We're Actually in Raymond Reverse World!

"Ready to go see Notre Dame play 
for the BCS Championship, Pam?"
IV.       Dallas

- It's All Just A Really Bad Dream

Take your pick.
Week II Buddy Award.
Believe it or not, if the game had ended 30 seconds earlier, I’d be giving this award to Tommy Rees, despite all his miscues.  Why?  Because that stadium was so freaking loud – TV didn’t remotely do it justice… 115,000 loons screaming their lungs out in a building that’s been architecturally redesigned to keep the sound in.  Yowzer.  ND will never again play in conditions that difficult for communication.  Which leads me to this insight:  Notre Dame Stadium scares no one.  We’re not loud. We don’t intimidate, threaten or even confuse anyone (except maybe ourselves when the public announcer takes over). In fact, our fandom revels in the ‘pleasurable game day experience’.  No shit. And no wonder our home record is so mediocre.

But I digress.  This week’s coveted Buddy goes to Michael Floyd. The guy is just a beast.  Just wish they looked at him once or twice on those 3rd and 1’s… you know, the simple bubble screens that USF repeatedly ran for 4-8 yds against us last week?

Schadenfreude of the Week.
•  The U.  You’re facing penalties of SMU-proportions and you lose to team that dressed like a jigsaw puzzle.
•  Penn State.  Spanked by a team with their own QB troubles… has anyone yet told JoePa they lost?
•  Ohio State. You beat Toldeo by 5 pts. And sit another 8 guys for taking impermissible benefits (in mob-like envelopes… hey OSU, one word for your bagmen – PayPal.) What part of ‘lack of institutional control’ don’t you understand?

Terry’s Tool Time.
•  Notre Dame.  How can we not point the finger at ourselves. Shame on you for making me turn to nihilism to get a little optimism in my life.

Song of the Week
Another song taken from the way, way, way back vault…  continuing the theme of curses (and the unfortunate consequences of underestimating someone with mystical powers).  One of Harry Nilsson’s very early efforts, “Rainmaker”.  Enjoy.

“The rainmaker smiled
As he hitched up his wagon
And without a word he rode away.
Then the people of the town
Heard the sound of his laughter
And they knew the rain had come to stay.”

Final observations

Tailgating.  The private port-a-loo would be nice but if we’re raising our game, also consider…

   A.        Blues Band                                                                                    B.        Guinness-based desserts

"This is Churchill Downs, right?"
1.  The uni’s.  Not as bad as Maryland but one game is enough.  Ours looked like high school, UM’s looked like an homage to munchkin land.
2.   Night game.  Loved it. It’s all about pacing oneself. But I don’t have to tell this group about the benefits of moderation.
3.   Denard.  A terrific college athlete.  Horrible passer. NASA would be jealous of some of his moon shot’s.  And yet…
"You're sure, uncle Tim, Ryan and I still get inheritance benefits?"
4.    Elizabethan Revenge.  Actually a class Shea is taking this semester.  That’s not the scary part – though one might arguably ask oneself, ‘to what good end can this knowledge possibly have?!’   No, the unnerving part is Shea reporting that "my prof totally reminds me of uncle Tim".  Yikes.

  “How many ND alums does it take to close a tent?”

2011 Schedule.

3        South Florida            L                             
10      @ Michigan (NIGHT)    L                            
17      MSU    LINIPALOOZA!!
24      @ Pitt
1      @ Purdue (NIGHT)
8      Air Force
15    OPEN
22    USC (NIGHT)
29    Navy
5       @ Wake Forest
12     @ Maryland (D.C.)
19     Boston College
26     @ Stanford (NIGHT)
2011 Wager status

Another five bite the dust... will Brian rue his last minute decision to trade up from 6 wins to 8?!

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