This morning, The Observer reported on The Shirt’s unveiling, and the article contained a quote from Kristin Andrejko, The Shirt committee’s vice president. According to the article, she said, “I think it’s special because I’ve never seen a Shirt that captures a moment in the stadium, and I think this Shirt really does just that. It’s the players walking out at the beginning of the game, holding hands, a sign of unity … and it’s the chills you get when you hear ‘There’s a magic in the sound of their name.'”
According to The Shirt (committee’s) own timeline, though, not only is this not the first The Shirt to “capture a moment in the stadium,” this year’s The Shirt is actually a pretty blatantly repackaged The Shirt from 2003. Here they are, 2017 and 2003, for your comparison:
So there it is: 2003 has the shamrock, the players walking with hands joined, the word “magic” in a special font, and the same slogan. The only big difference is the color. I guess we’ve run out of ideas up at The Shirt central.
As far as this year’s offering being the first to “capture a moment in the stadium,” and setting aside that this year’s The Shirt is an almost-exact replica of 2003’s, again, the timeline shows us that that’s not true either. 1993’s The Shirt (“Onward to Victory”) has the “raising of the helmets” moment. 1998’s The Shirt (“Here Come the Irish”) has the “players running out of the tunnel” moment. It also features the players’ jersey numbers as 1, 9, and 98, so we know that not even that element is unique to this year’s The Shirt. 1999’s The Shirt (“Love Thee Notre Dame”) has, again, the “raising of the helmet” moment.
Maybe 2003’s appearance explains why Coach Kelly proclaimed this year’s (2017) his favorite. That was his last year at Grand Valley State.
Anyway, maybe I’m making too much of The Shirt. But since the University is, too, they should do better than repackage old designs and pass them off as new.
Author’s note: I have no firsthand memory of The Shirt in 2003. I was deployed that year.