Rockne of Notre Dame: The Making of a Football Legend

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Rockne of Notre Dame: The Making of a Football Legend

As the youngsters played endless hours of corner lot baseball and football, games that were unheard of in Norway, the police treated them kindly. There were, of course, occasional incidents of fisticuffs. But a paternal cop named O'Goole acted as an arbiter, exercising only a minimum of bias in favor of the Irish. If the Irish lads pummeled the Swedes all Scandinavians, including Knute, were known generically as "Swedes" , O'Goole would beam broadly and was not inclined to intervene.

However, when the Swedes recruited several Italians to balance things out against the bigger "Irishers," O'Goole was quick to note that "the game is getting too brutal. In all of these affairs, Knute was generally able to take good care of himself.

Despite his small size, he was shifty with his feet and quite adept with his hands at fighting. Though his father was appalled that in a family of artisans Knute turned out to be "all thumbs," one aspect of his son's personality pleased Lars immensely: Knute was not one who could be bullied or pushed around by anybody. Life wasn't all street games and fighting for Knute. At school Rockne signed his name as "Kanute Kenneth.


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Lars loved music, playing the cornet with some skill, while Martha and the daughters two more were born in America played the piano. Knute settled for the flute, which he played with pleasure for the rest of his life. Football, as it was played by these urchins, was a game without helmets. The football often looked as if it had been chewed up by mountain lions, there were never enough shin guards for players, and one's ears had to be taped down to prevent them from spreading.

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Knute's parents regarded the game as a form of "modified massacre," banning him from further participation. Such an edict was hard to enforce, for Knute loved the body contact. His folks, of course, thought he was too small for such combat.

To them he was too kraftig stocky in Norwegian. Whenever his parents weren't around to superintend Knute's behavior, he went out to play. He always did a good deal of fibbing about it, but his physical appearance after a game betrayed him. He played for a dirty-faced group, mostly Irish lads, who called themselves the Barefoot Athletic Club.


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  • Rockne of Notre Dame: The Making of a Football Legend by Ray Robinson.
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  • With Knute's help the Barefooters got into a game for the district championship against the Hamburg Athletic Club. Crowds lined the gridiron, or what passed for it, and a half-dozen gendarmes were called on to keep the spectators at bay. From time to time some of the fans would slip away to recharge their liquid batteries at nearby saloons. When they returned they became rowdy and partisan, even scrambling onto the field to prevent Knute from running for a touchdown. But Hamburg rooters came to the rescue. They threw me down and swiped the ball," Rockne recalled. Needless to say, when Knute, in his patched moleskin pants, returned home, his face was bloodied.

    His spirit, however, was unbowed, until the moment that Lars, for perhaps the tenth time, reminded him that he didn't want him playing this terrible game. In the summer youngsters in the district switched to baseball. Gloves that barely covered the hand were trotted out, and mushy old horsehides were substituted for pigskins. Now, this was more to the liking of Lars and Knute's mother, who regarded baseball as a game where the objective was not to maim an opponent.

    Rockne of Notre Dame: The Making of a Football Legend - Ray Robinson - Google Книги

    This was a more sensible, less physical game, they believed, and for that reason the family heartily approved of it--and Knute's participation in it. Ironically, in an extra-inning game one afternoon against the Maplewoods, another local team, a hot argument developed, with Knute in the middle of it.

    Never one to dodge a good, old-fashioned donnybrook, Knute ended up getting his nose mashed by a bat flung by an unidentified miscreant.


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    Rockne of Notre Dame: The Making of a Football Legend. In a mere twelve years, Rockne's "Fighting Irish" won games, including five astonishing undefeated seasons. The book gives us colorful descriptions of such Rockne teams as the undefeated eleven led by the illustrious Four Horsemen, and the squad, Rockne's last and greatest.

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