The meaning of tradition

By Joseph Serafin

Tradition, tradici¢n, tradizione. The meaning of this word is as diverse as the languages that punctuate the linguistic tapestry of our world. Yet, for the assembled multitudes that embrace Assembly Hall and Memorial Stadium, filling their hallowed halls with long swaths of victorious orange, the meaning of tradition is more clearly shaped and defined.

The formation of the chief tradition shares a common theme with the creation of other universities’ school symbols and mascots-that of entertainment value. The “Fighting Irish” moniker of Notre Dame was coined by newspapers playing off of the stereotypes against the Irish in 1924. The leprechaun mascot was established to energize the crowd and create a more stimulating competitive environment. To those who take offense to the Chief, I would ask them to have the courage to laugh at their own selves just as the witty Irish have been doing for generations.

Over the years, the Chief has become something much more than a form of entertainment, however. Native American motifs are interwoven in the Marching Illini’s celebrated “Three In One”. The image of the chief emblazoned on the fifty yard line and at center court is forever imprinted on the minds of countless Illini fans. He has come to unite the school with a common bond- a common experience of school pride.

I don’t even attend U of I, but I have a deep, personal connection to the school traditions at Notre Dame and know firsthand how essential they are to uniting the entire campus community. I will pray for the Chief’s imminent return and hope that many other Illini supporters at universities across the nation will continue to do so and will take action to protect the symbol of a university known for its embracement of diversity.

Joseph Serafin

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    freshman at Notre Dame