Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Eo na toa! Eo na toa e!

(pronounced a-oh-nah-towah, a-oh-nah-towah-a).

It means: "This is battle. You must respond."

It is an ancient Hawaiian battle cry, and it is the theme I would use for the Irish this week as they take the field against the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii.

The Irish have shown glimpses of promise this year, but have consistently stumbled down the stretch when faced with adversity. The've blown double digit leads in several of their losses, and have not shown that warrior spirit you want to see from a Notre Dame football team. Subway Domer suggested that we put the team on a blood regimen during the offseason, to give them that killer instinct. I like it.

This team needs to come out on Christmas Eve and play with passion and intensity.

Forget whether we belong in a bowl game after a 6-6 campaign. Forget that this is arguably the lowest bowl game the Irish have ever played in. Forget that we have very litle to play far, as even a win won't get us ranked. Forget the luaus and getting lei'd. None of that matters.

Eo na toa! Eo na toa e! This is battle. You must respond.

There is another ancient battle cry used in Ireland: Tiocfaidh ár lá.

It translates as "our day will come."

It has long been the battle cry of the Irish faithful. The students, alumni, and fans of this University are more passionate and loyal to their football team than any in history. And for too many long years, we have suffered through disappointing season after disappointing season. Disappointing coach after disappointing coach. Disappointing decade after disappointing decade. And through it all we believe our day will come.

This team came to this University, with all their accolades and recruiting rankings, to play for Coach Weis. They put their faith and trust in him to lead them to the promised land. I know they still believe our day will come.

The coaches that have assembled here understand the gravity of their situation. Nothing less than perfection is expected from them. And they have embraced the chalenge. They are working as hard as they can, believing in their heart that our day will come.

I said at the beginning of the season that I thought this season would be the year that the Irish turn the corner and become the team that Coach Weis has been trying to mould them into over the past four years. He has his pieces in place, and this is now a veteran team, loaded with depth and experience. It's a healthy team that is bringing back the best freshman wide receiver in Notre Dame history from injury. We are healthy, and there is no more time for excuses. There are no distractions for Weis to hang his hat on. Swarbrick made it clear that Weis is coming back next season. There is no specter of doubt hanging around his future, no scandal to distract the team. This team can focus on the game.

So, with the vote of confidence by Swarbrick and Jenkins, it is time to put aside our differences and come together as one. We must change our battle cry.

No longer shall it be "Tiocfaidh ár lá." Our day has come.

On gameday we shall adopt the battle cry of our enemy, and use it to destroy them.

Eo na toa! Eo na toa e! This is battle. You must respond.