Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Ides of October

The most famous "Ides" was the "Ides of March". This was made famous by the Shakespearean Play, "Julius Caesar" when the "soothsayer warned Julius, "Beware the Ides of March!" In those days, I guess, they believed in omens and such things. I guess this was just after Julius invented and installed the new calendar. So, the 15th of March was his last day on earth, or so the legend goes.

Nowadays we speak of other ominous days. ie. "9/11" for example, "D-Day" from WWII. etc. Yesterday, in the College Football Sports World, one of the major perenial powers, Notre Dame, had one of those days. Yes, the 15th of October's big game at South Bend, Ind. will go down in the history of the two arch rival schools (USC vs. Notre Dame) as one of the best/worst games in their joint history. Sounds profound doesn't it.

On this day in history, my email service says, 1582, The gregorian calendar was adopted by Italy, Spain, Portugal and France. This is the shocking part; Pope Gregory proclaimed that the next day after Oct. 5th would be Oct. 15th. Good luck if you were born on any of those days in between. This was his way of adjusting the calendar that Julius had set in motion and was getting ahead of the lunar months and the solar year as it went along. Seasons were way out of whack. Talk about your "Ides of October"!

Also on this day, in 1938, a year before my birth, the Graf Zeppelin was launched across the Atlantic. It could cross the ocean in 3 days instead of the 7 or 8 that it was taking by ship. It set a record for those days. It was the predecessor of the infamous "Hindenburg"...that blew up.

So, no wonder my alma mater kept their winning streak alive...barely. On this 15th evening of October, S.C. was down by three points with about a minute to play. It was 4th down and 17 yds. to go and about 75 yds. away from the Notre Dame goal. They have been going on 4th down, not punting. Leinert went to the line and took charge. He call an "audible" changing the planned play which would've failed with the blitz coming. He called his roommate, Jarrett's, number, a receiver to go long. He had just been hit in the side of the head was only seeing out of one eye. He threw the pass perfectly along the sidelines, threading the needle, as it were. Jarrett then ran for about 60 yards. and it was 1st and goal. After a couple of failed attempts, Leinert tried to run around the left side, his best, and was diving for the endzone when the ball was knocked out of his hands and out of bounds. This is supposed to stop the clock. The fighting irish fans thought the game was over and came rushing onto the field. The officials said no and finally got them off the field. The Trojans were one yard away from pay dirt and winning the game by 4 pts. Time outs were used up. Matt, the Heisman Trophy Winner from last year, then proved why he is still the leader of the team and not one to settle for a tie (a field goal=3pts.) He kept on fighting and would not give up. The coach, Pete Carroll, signaled to spike the ball and stop the clock at 6 seconds left. (this was a ploy to trick the other team we later learned) Leinert asked his teammate Reggie Bush what he should do? He said, "Go for it!" "Do what you do best! or think best." The irish were ready for a quarterback sneak and were bunching up in the center. Matt got the ball, dove, was rebuffed and spun to his left and dove again head first into the end zone. He had a push from Bush (which technically is illegal). It was hysterically shocking and unbelieveable. There was too much celebrating so the Trojans got a penalty after the score and had to try and kick an extra point 5 yds. further back. They missed or it was blocked. Only a three point lead. They then had to kick it off to the irish who were hell-bent on running it back or getting close enough in the 3 seconds remaining to tie it or beat them. It was a squib kick and they finally caught it fairly close. As each ball-carrier was tackled they would pitch it back to a teammate to carry on. It didn't work and the Trojans won! The crowd was not happy there in South Bend. (Mudville) The special "green" uniforms had failed them. The spirit of "Fight On!" continued. S.C. has a record-breaking winning streak and the game will go down in the books as one of the best between these two old rivals. That's what it is all about in College building character, drive and determination. Bob


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