A TSD Classique: After Humiliating Loss, Quasimodo to Return to Notre Dame to Play Hunchback

Hunch Break. Quasimodo mugs for camera as the Fightin’ Irish break during a recent summer practice.

SOUTH BEND, IN (Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) — Apparently even a 42-14 pounding in a title game isn’t enough to keep this team down.  First there was Rudy, the inspiring story of an against-all-odds player making the Fightin’ Irish football team; now this. Quasimodo, the famed bell ringing Hunchback of Notre Dame will return to the school from where he was banned 182 years ago in an attempt to make the football team in 2013.

A towering figure in Victor Hugo’s literary masterwork The Hunchback of Notre Dame, from 1831, Quasimodo, a hideous malformed hunchback, was mostly associated with Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris as the church‘s chief bell ringer. But, unbeknownst to most people, he did appear in two scrimmages for Notre Dame University during the late 1800’s when the team was then known as “The Catholics” instead of the Fightin’ Irish, which became the official team name in 1927.

Quasimodo, whose full name is Jean Pierre de Quasimodo Le Humpe, played at hunchback, a now defunct position. In the early days of football, the hunchback lined up directly behind the quarterback. It was a precursor to what most people today would call a running back.

Quasimodo was successful in his short stint at hunchback. Most opposing players shied away from him due to his grotesque appearance, as well as the fear of catching a disease. Though statistics from those days are sketchy at best, it is estimated that Quasimodo rushed for over 650 yards in the two scrimmages – an astounding stat in any era. But public opinion quickly soured on the horrific looking figure as his looks affected ticket sales. He was subsequently banned for life. The reversal was announced earlier this year.

Head Coach Brian Kelly was asked how it is possible Quasimodo is still alive, let alone play football. “Well, the way I understand it, Quasy was around 29 when he was immortalized in the book,” said Weis. “So he’s kind of frozen in time, stuck at that age. But from all that bell ringing, this kid’s in solid shape. And given his mythic status here at the school, it’d be a crime to not give him a shot.“

Wide Receiver Josh Anderson. said he’s fine playing with Quasimodo. “It’s cool with me,” the Fightin‘ Irish pass catcher said. “He just has to get a bell ringer to cover for him while he’s away, just in case someone reads the book over the next year. Imagine that – reading a book and the title character is missing? I’m sure there are a few modern-thinking Parisians with severe Osteoporosis and a face like a mule who wouldn’t mind filling in for a spell while Q’s out chasing his dreams.”

Quasimodo has been shuttling back and forth between Notre Dame Cathedral and Notre Dame University the past two weeks. Francois LeMonde, a 32 year old bank teller from the outskirts of Paris has agreed to temporarily fill in as bell ringer until a more suitable, misshapen creature can be seamlessly inserted into the temporary full-time slot. “Football’s the easy part,” said Notre Dame French Literature Professor Clifford Renshaw. “The real trick is on the literary side. We’re hoping no one will notice Quasy’s got a stand in, or in his case, hunch in.”

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