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  • Writer's pictureCameron Hart

Club President Tony: "Everyone has a Notre Dame Story"

On March 31st at about 11:00 AM, 89 years ago in 1931, Knute Rockne was killed in an airplane crash near Bazaar, Kansas on his way to Los Angeles.  There were some similarities with the recent Kobe Bryant passing.  Both were major sport personalities and Bryant was 41 and Rockne 43.  There was a similar outpouring of emotion and people will remember where they were when they heard the news. Everyone has a Notre Dame Story

Over many years, I have come to realize, that all Notre Dame Alumni, Family and Friends have a story about how they “became” Irish!  Many can remember a grand parent being a fan while others point to Rudy.  Whatever the story, it is unique to that person. My personal story also involves a movie, “Knute Rockne – All American,”  which was made in 1940.  Purists point to it as Hollywood representation of the man’s life.  I saw it as an impressionable 10 year old on our B&W TV in Weston on station CHCH.  I fell in love with the Coach, the tradition, the music and the University - all at the same time!  I was hooked!

I travelled to South Bend to see my first game in 1969 against Air Force Academy.  I found the Sports and Games Collection in the basement of Hesburgh Library and it led to subsequent visits in search of Rockne information.  In 1981, I attended the 50th Annual Breakfast and Mass hosted by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley in South Dining Hall along with 750 others.  In 1983, I had the honour of speaking at the 52nd Annual Event.

To honour the memory, achievement and contributions of Knute Rockne, several years ago The Knute Rockne Memorial Society was founded.  Among other things, the Society started presenting the Knute Rockne Spirit of Sports Awards in 2017.

Go Irish! Tony Nelson President Notre Dame Club of Toronto/Central Ontario.

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