Who Does University Of Michigan Football Team Play Today "One For the Gipper" – The Original Story

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"One For the Gipper" – The Original Story

President Ronald Reagan was affectionately referred to as “Cipper” as a result of his film portrayal of the legendary Notre Dame football player. The nickname is so firmly attached to the president that the real Gipper is almost forgotten.

The true story is obscured by the mists of time. His hometown of Laurium, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, maintains a website dedicated to their local hero. This much is certain: He was born on February 18, 1895, to Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Gipp.

He attended public schools in Calumet, but never played high school football. However, he was a versatile athlete. He participated in track, field hockey, sand soccer and organized baseball. The Laurium baseball team was the Upper Peninsula champion in 19l5, and George played center field.

Gipp wasn’t thinking about going to college. However, he was skilled at baseball, table plants, poker and dice. His greatest achievement is winning the golden watch for ballroom dancing.

The rugged six-foot-tall, 180-pound Gipp, at age 21, convinced the Notre Dame graduate that he could get a baseball scholarship for the question.

Apart from these statistics, we have to rely on sports historians.

A colorful account of Gipp’s spectacular career was given by James A. Coke. It begins one fall afternoon in 1916 with two college freshmen playing baseball catch on the field of a Midwestern university.

Without warning, a football sails over the fence from the nearby gridiron where the school was practicing. Hit one of the young men. He picks up a stray football and kicks it over the fence 70 yards away.

On the other side of the field, the coach whistles in awe and rushes off. “Hey, you! You with the baseball. What’s your name?”

“Gipp,” comes the terse reply.

“Where are you from?


“Play high school football?”


“Well, I think you’re going to be a football player,” says the coach. “Come out tomorrow. We’ll outfit you and see what you can do.”

The young man shrugs his shoulders. “I don’t know,” he says vaguely. “Don’t worry too much about football.”

That was the meeting between Georg Gipp and Knute Rockne. A few days later Gipp shows up for rehearsal.

* * *

There was no difficulty in changing his scholarship when it was learned that he could run 100 yards in ten seconds, throw a pin-point half the length of the field, and kick 60 yards with ease. He became an All-American halfback.

Gipp made a name for himself in his first out-of-town game with the freshman team against Western Michigan State Normal. Cox wrote:

“Playing halfback, Gipp piles up the yards.” But the score is 7-7 as the fourth quarter ends with just minutes left.

“The Irish have a ball. The quarterback calls the punt formation – kick and play for a draw.

“Gipp objects. He wants to try a field goal. The quarterback looks at him like he would look at a crazy man. From where the kick would stop, to the opponent’s post – which was on the goal line at the time – was more than 60 yards. Still, the quarterback orders: ‘Punt.’

“The ball is snapped, Gipp brings it end-first to the ground – as was the custom back then – gets a perfect rebound and smashes the ball through the uprights.” It was a 62-yard field goal that earned a permanent place in the record books.”

* * *

In the spring of his freshman year, Gipp tried out for the baseball team and succeeded as an outfielder. He played only one game.

Ignoring the bunt sign, he blasted the ball over the fence for a home run.

“Why?” the warden demanded. “Don’t you remember the signal?”

“Sure,” Gipp replied, “but it’s too hot to run the bases after the pile.” The next day he was back in his baseball uniform and concentrating on football.

He earned money by waiting tables in the university dining hall for food and lodging. He picked up money playing in nearby semi-pro and industrial baseball leagues.

He also frequented pool halls and other low-key South Bend joints.

An inn called Hullie & Mikes became his second home. He once said, “I’m the best free kicker that ever attended Notre Dame.”

His roommate Arthur (Dutch) Bergman explained:

“Nobody in South Bend could beat him at farro, billiards, billiards, poker or bridge.” He studied percentages in dice rolls and could fade those bones in a way that would make the pros dizzy. In a bill with three pockets, he was a fear. salon.

“He never gambled with other students, although his shooting skills helped pay the way through Notre Dame for more than a few of his friends.” I saw him win $500 in a crap game and then spend his winnings buying meals for poor families in South Bend.”

In 1919, Gip skipped so many classes that he was kicked out of school. He got a job as a house player at Hullie & Mikes casino.

Horrified, Notre Dame alumni sports fans flooded the college with complaints. The university gave him a special exam – which he passed – and reinstated him. After that, Gipp came to practice when he wanted, doing what he wanted to do. No one complained. The coaches and players knew he was fiercely committed to winning. The team revolved around him.

The 1920 season established Gipp as “immortal”.

One Saturday afternoon, Notre Dame found itself trailing 17-14 to Army.

In the locker room, Rockne gave one of his famous halftime fight speeches. Gipp looked bored. Rockne turned to Gipp and challenged him, “I suppose you’re not interested in this game.” Gipp replied, “Don’t worry, I’ve got $500 on it and I’m not going to waste my money.”

At the end of the game, Gipp had amassed 385 rushing yards – more than the entire Army team. He scored one touchdown by returning a kickoff, throwing two pin-point passes and setting up a touchdown. He almost single-handedly led Notre Dame to a 27-17 comeback victory.

Gipp paid the price to perform that day. He was tired, pale and a little bloody. His distress was so evident that the crowd at West Point stood and watched in awe as he left the court.

There are four games left in the season. A clean sweep would give Notre Dame a shot at a national championship.

Purdue lost 28-0. In Indiana the following week, Gipp suffered a dislocated shoulder that sent him to the bench with bandages. The Hoosiers shot out to a 10-0 lead, which they held on to in the fourth quarter.

The Irish drove to the 2-yard line, but stalled. Gipp jumped off the bench and shouted to Rockn, “I’m coming in!”

“Come back!’ roared Rokne.

Gipp ignored the command. On the second play, he punted for a touchdown. He then kicked the extra point, and returned to his bench.

On Notre Dame’s next possession, with time running out, the Irish punted the ball to the 15-yard line. Again Gipp rushed off the bench to take control.

He gave up the tying shot to tie the game. The Hoosiers moved in to block him. Gipp calmly threw the ball to a receiver at the 1-yard line. On the next play, as the entire Indiana team closed in on Gipp, he left the tackle with his injured hand pulled close. It was a ruse. The Notre Dame quarterback danced into the end zone with the ball for the game-winning touchdown.

While the team returned to South Bend, Gipp went to Chicago to teach the preschool team how to throw a shot. The icy wind brought aches, fever and sore throat. Back in South Bend, Gipp took to his sickbed.

The following Friday, against Northwestern, Rockne kept a feverish Gipp on the bench until the fourth quarter. Then, with chants from the crowd – “We want Gipp!” — allowed his star to get in on a few plays — topped off with a 55-yard touchdown pass to pile up a 33-7 rout. .

* * *

On Thanksgiving, Notre Dame defeated Michigan State 25-0 to complete its second straight winning season, but Gipp wasn’t there. He was in hospital with pneumonia and strep throat – a serious illness before antibiotics.

It was clear that Gipp was doomed. On December 14, 1920, he converted to Catholicism and received the last rites. His mother, brother, sister and Coach Rockn kept vigil by his bedside — while the entire student body knelt in the snow on campus praying for him.

While he was in a coma, someone whispered, “It’s hard to go.”

Gipp heard this and woke up. “What’s so hard about that?” he said contemptuously.

Other than that, we only have Rockne’s version.

Gip turned to Rockn. “I have to go, Rock,” he whispered. “It’s all good. Sometimes, when a team is in the face of it, when things go wrong and breaks beat guys – tell them to go in there with everything they’ve got and just get one for the Gipper.”

There is some doubt that the usually modest Gipp actually gave the dramatic deathbed speech, but Rockne always swore it was true.

However, eight years passed before Rockn felt it necessary to refer to George Gipp’s last words.

It was at Yankee Stadium, New York, on November 12, 1928. Notre Dame lost two games. The undefeated Army team held the so-so Fighting Irish to a halftime tie. In the locker room, Rockne stood up and addressed his tired players.

“Guys, I want to tell you a story I never thought I’d have to tell.

Then Rockn said – in a serious voice – George Gipp’s final challenge. When he reached his peak – “Get in there and score one for the Gipper” – the players are said to have ripped the locker room doors open as they rushed onto the pitch. The Irish played the second half as if the Notre Dame legend was leading the way.

At the end of the game, the score was Notre Dame 12, Army 6.

The Gipper struck one last time – from the grave.

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