It's passion, plain and simplePosted on November 17th, 2007 after 15080 miles by Dean Croshere.
“Drunk as I am, it’s amazing. I saw him once in ’90. And here he is in 2007.” Neil reached out and touched Boxer for what might be the 100th time of the evening. He touched the dog the same way a believer might tentatively touch the Shroud of Turin. A tentative touch, as if Boxer might disappear the moment he made contact with it. His speech continued. “I fought for him. I bled for him. And I did bleed for him. And here he is. Sitting on my kitchen counter.”
Sitting on his kitchen counter. It wasn’t the first time he’d noticed this. After all, Boxer had been sitting there since I’d arrived in the mid afternoon, many beers, many stories, a cigar, and a couple shots of tequila ago.
How weak I’ve been. I allowed myself to lose faith. I’ve worked so hard to find alumni. To hear these stories. To see this passion. And I lost interest after 15000 miles.
This man is letting me stay in his house. This man made me dinner. This man bought me beer. He does it because I’m a brother. The fact that I brought Boxer is simply a bonus.
A bonus he cannot believe. Boxer, his symbol of College Spirit, is sitting on his kitchen counter. He cannot believe that. Our conversation has moved on. He still reaches out to touch Boxer tentatively. It’s as if this time, the 101st touch, Boxer will disappear. This time Neil will wake up. It’s as if he might wake up and College Spirit was never on his kitchen counter.
I’ve run out of methods of transferring this reverence. I’ve run out of ideas to try to spark the energy. The words, “How could I live with myself if not for another picture of the Boxer dragon in front of Mount Rushmore,” continue to echo through my head.
The sentence tells me that not only are students tired of my trip, they don’t even understand what it means. The sentence tells me they aren’t even interested enough to read the accompanying article explaining why there are pictures in front of Mount Rushmore. It tells me they don’t understand why it matters. What’s more, they don’t want to understand. They don’t care.
15000 miles hasn’t made them care.
Of course it hasn’t. Why should it? My passion is not their passion. They have papers and projects and love lives and other important things to worry about. The passion of some alumni who wants to bring to them the passions of other alumni is completely irrelevant. In fact, my passions simply fill their student newspaper with mindless drivel and useless pictures of Boxer in front of Mount Rushmore.
But that’s just it. I can’t stop. People noticed. Some people were pissed. People talked about it. Some people talked about Boxer. A few people did, even if most are ignorant. I shouldn’t stop now. I won’t stop now. I can’t stop now.
I can’t be out of ideas. There must be some way of making students realize that this matters. There must be some way of making “Boxer” into “the Spirit of all the College” once again.
Goddamnit I will not give up. I will find that spirit. I will make Boxer matter. I don’t know how, but I will find a way.
Boxer is College Spirit, and forever shall he be.