South Bend, Ind. According to fans on Sunday, the rivalry between Notre Dame and Navy is one of respect, not of hate.
Many fans at the tailgate Saturday spoke about the special bond that the two schools have shared during their 87-years as rivals.
Henry Dixon, a 1956 Notre Dame graduate, believes it has much to do with the favor Navy did for ND back in the 1940’s.
“During World War II, the University needed money because they lost so many students to the service,” Dixon said. “So the Navy opened up their officer candidate school and they brought in several thousand men to be Navy officers and as a result, Notre Dame got enough income to stay alive and stay open.”
And that feeling of appreciation lasts until today.
“Notre has always had a warm, grateful feeling out of that enterprise,” Dixon said.
Maggie Skoch is a currently Notre Dame student and she shares the same sentiment.
“I think it will be great to see our guys playing out there against the brave men and women who serve for us every day,” Skoch said at the tailgate.
David Lovell is a ND fan but his father served in the Navy.
“You know it's not a school, Navy is a way of life and I just have always been a navy fan,” said Lovell. “When I was a kid I'd see them on TV and they'd both have gold helmets and I'd think ‘who am I voting for?’ and really neither - I'd like to see both teams win.”