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The cheerleaders proceed next with a skit, which ends in a jousting match between the Scarlet Knight of Rutgers ("Hey, youse guys, I'm from Rutgers, New Joisey") and a Black Knight of the Hudson—who is, however, carefully identified as a janitor, not a cadet. This dramatic device is employed so that the Scarlet Knight can win the joust and gain rights to the beautiful Rapunzel without shaming the corps. But, alas, the Scarlet Knight is incapable of climbing up to the buxom lady's lair, which sets the stage for the guest star.
Cheerleader: "So who could be more worthy of this fair damsel than ST. PETER DAWKINS!?!?!?!"
On cue, from the back of the courtyard, there is a tragus-shattering roar, and the beam from an unmuffled mighty motorcycle begins to lurch about. On the cycle, dressed in a silver lame helmet, large yellow sunglasses, fatigues and boots, is a cadet obviously playing (broadly, to the crowd) the role of the largely mythical St. Peter Dawkins. The chopper caroms about the crowd, at last finds a path to the stage and zooms toward it.
It screeches to a halt at a ladder, and the Dawkins character leaps toward the balcony stage, with, suddenly, the strains of Jesus Christ Superstar swelling to crescendo. On the balcony he removes his helmet and glasses and fatigue jacket, revealing a red, white, and blue, stars-and-stripes Captain America shirt underneath. He also reveals one more thing: that the actor playing the part of St. Peter Dawkins is none other than Major Peter Dawkins.
To the throaty cries of, "Give me some skin," Dawkins smiles brazenly and pulls off his shirt, to stand there, bare-chested in the freezing night. This is another tradition, and Dawkins decides to take it one step further. "O.K., we'll find out the ones who really have spirit," he howls into the microphone. "Everybody, take off your shirts."
In the bitter cold, only a few at first comply. Even for cadets with winning attitudes, there are, after all, some discernible differences between Rutgers and Notre Dame, especially as they relate to creature comforts. But Dawkins keeps after them with the oldtime religion. "The thing that this corps has got to do for the football team is take off their shirts together." In the face of this logic, more in the crowd strip, clutching their biceps and jumping about to stir up circulation.
At last, when only a few misfits remain clothed, Dawkins rears back with a zealot's patter. "One way, one corps, together, always!" he cries with a frightening fervor, ravishing the crowd with frenzy. If, on that balcony, it had not been just Pete Dawkins carrying on but Patton himself firing off his handguns, Sergeant York turkey-gobbling, U.S. Grant taking a Breathalyzer test and Nathan Hale being executed half a dozen times, the audience could not have responded more wildly.
In bedlam, the cadets pile onto each other's frozen shoulders, waving their undershirts and shouting, "Go Rabble!" There is so much shirt waving that, in the spotlight beam, lint particles fall like a heavy snowstorm. The cadets settle down to listen, chattering and slapping at their goose pimples, as Dawkins assures them how special they are and how vital their cheers will be in determining the outcome of the game.
A few days later a visitor made the idle comment to an Army lineman named Jay Kimmitt that the rally had been "quite a scene." Kimmitt, otherwise a most cordial young man, suddenly became testy and on edge. "I wouldn't call it a scene, sir," he snapped. And, well, this much we do know: Army beat hell out of Rutgers.