So here’s the thing: The Shirt this year isn’t half bad. The design is acceptable, and the color is great. THIS YEAR. And therein lies the problem.
Good Job! Here’s a Sticker!
Before I go into my semi-regular rant about the program overall, let’s give some credit to those that do this work for good causes. The students and their minders at ND put in hard work to help charity. It’s really nice. It’s a great thing even. And they did a good job this year. Here’s their work in ’12:
So they did a good job, but it just rings hollow. Why? Well, because it doesn’t serve the original purpose of the original Shirt, and it doesn’t help the team win. Every year the color changes, and every game a bunch of folks in from out of town wear every color under the sun in ND stadium. There’s absolutely no unity. It’s actually quite sad that PENN FREAKING STATE can figure this out but Notre Dame cannot. And, of course, ND finds the perfect way out of it: charity.
How can one argue with charity? How do you rant against the status quo in The Shirt without coming off like a jerk. Well, here’s how: there are a MILLION WAYS TO GIVE TO CHARITY. Why does our in-stadium, gameday ’12th Man’ clothing HAVE to be that way? And why does a single, unified color every year have to suffer for it? Why can’t we do both?
THIS IS NOT BEYOND OUR CREATIVE CAPABILITIES!
A little historical context and some words from The Shirt Committee might help here. In terms of the origination of the project (emphasis mine):
The Shirt Project began in 1990 through the vision and leadership of Brennan Harvath, â€˜91. As Chairman of AnTostal, the Student Union Boardâ€™s spring celebration, Harvath envisioned raising money for AnTostal by selling t-shirts to Notre Dame students. The Shirt, as it became known, was intended to unify the student body in Notre Dame Stadium for the home football game against Michigan on September 15, 1990. With Notre Dame and Michigan having similar team colors, Harvathâ€™s vision was for the crowd to be unified in green, symbolic of the Fighting Irish.
Wait…WHAT??? The original vision was to unify the student body, to unify the stadium? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? BLASPHEMY! Turns out, the ever-changing color actually goes AGAINST the original goal of The Shirt. The Founder of the project, the person that started it all, wanted to unify the stadium while raising some money for some student efforts. It’s sad that today’s leadership of the project have lost sight of this. Very sad.
And the laughable aspect is that The Shirt web site actually claims to help to unify the stadium.
Also important to The Shirt Project is to provide a unified front in the football stadium. A sea of same-colored shirts gives the opposing team a â€œtwelfth manâ€ to fear.
Oh yeah! So intimidating, this 12th Man with a million different colors. Can really tell that the crowd is unified and behind Notre Dame. Boy, we should give up now.
The rallying cry just isn’t there. I mean it’s there, but it’s likely kinda like this:
“Okay everybody, we’re going to get together and wear the same color to the games this year to ensure we really support the team and show our unity. To do so, we’ll be wearing green shirts.”
“So is it the same green as last year?”
“Nope, no, sorry, it’s a different shade. And next year will be yellow, but don’t worry, we’ll tell you then.”
“Hey I have my Air Force blue shirt from last year is that okay to wear? It’ll sort a be the same…”
COME ON. It doesn’t work. Never has, never will.
The Big Picture
You see, The Shirt is simply a barrier. It’s a big barrier, but just a barrier to the ultimate goal here: which is a stadium that, when you walk in, SCREAMS UNITY AND FIGHTING FREAKING IRISH support. That is all. The goal of this movement is a unified stadium – that includes jackets and sweatshirts and parkas and every manner of warmth-inducing clothing. Because, you see, once there’s an official gameday color, everyone will wear it. They’ll pick things out that fit that color scheme because, well, THAT is the color scheme. Every layer, every piece of gear, would be that single color.
But we won’t ever get there with The Shirt changing colors every year. It’s too strong of a force, and if we got to an official gameday color, it would simply ruin it. If the official, permanent color were Kelly Green, or Gold, and this year’s The Shirt came out – guess what? SKITTLES. That’s right, back to the rainbow baby.
Fix It. #fixtheshirt
Ultimately, only ND fans can fix this problem. You can help by signing the petition which is located here. You can email Jack Swarbrick and spread the news on social media. You can stop buying The Shirt too – but honestly I don’t want the cause to suffer. I just want them to wake up and realize that changing color every year is a lazy way to continue to build demand. The best way is to have a winning team, and design a cool shirt. That’s it – it achieves all of the goals we could all ever have – helps unify the fan base on game day, helps charity, and allows me to go on ranting about other things. Like 33 cent quarter dogs. DON’T GET ME STARTED!!!!
Sign the Petition. Rant. Spread the word. Rant. #FIXTHESHIRT!