Today should have been the Blue-Gold Game to conclude Notre Dame’s spring practices. Instead, it’s another Saturday without sports and with no sports in sight, except for one consistency, one piece of what will be welcome news to most, if not all, Irish fans.
“The Shirt” is green.
As “The Shirt” committee public relations director Max Perry said, “One of the first questions people ask is, what’s the color?” There is certainly more to it, there are after all two designs, but the color is what comes across on NBC broadcasts when panning across the student section.
Admittedly, a pretty clear disclaimer can be added here, but let’s blow past that for once.
The Shirt was unveiled virtually this year, rather than a first-ever showcase between the Hesburgh Library (“Touchdown Jesus”) and Notre Dame Stadium.
“We knew we had to do a virtual unveiling, because we have to keep this tradition alive,” Perry said. “We don’t want this tradition to be defeated by the times right now.”
The video released on social media took a beat to get to the reveal, but that was quicker than would have been the case in person, quite frankly.
The 2020 edition of @theshirtND is HERE.
— The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) April 18, 2020
“There are so many great elements of Notre Dame football,” Perry said. “To try to incorporate those traditions and great memories and historical, iconic symbols that are Notre Dame football onto one shirt, it’s difficult. You have to pick and choose the elements that you want on that shirt that you think the fans will enjoy and the ones that really mean a lot to you.”
In 2020, with or without football, those elements include Celtic font, in recognition of the scheduled season opener in Dublin, wrapped around a window from the Golden Dome. Ticket stubs on the back of the shirt emphasize kickoff, one showing a vintage kicker in the No. 31, in honor of this being The Shirt’s 31st year, and one a nod to the student chant released as he boots the ball.
“We highlighted this spirit by drawing out the student’s loud and passionate kickoff chant,” Perry said. “This cheer can also represent a similar motion at the end of the alma mater.”
Again a nod to the Golden Dome, the leaves around the images mimic the tile design on the floor.
Some might wonder why buy The Shirt in a year where football is in doubt due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the committee, the green shirt is a stroke of luck decided upon back in the fall, long before these concerns. That color should help boost sales.
Those sales play a key role in funding student clubs and organizations, along with a student emergency health fund. That has long been the driving cause behind The Shirt.
“The fact that these shirts help clubs and organizations, it’s a great thing to be a part of,” Perry said. “Hopefully we can be a part — help fund that coming home (to campus) process.
“The Shirt medical fund, it goes hand-in-hand with these current times. We’ve always been there for students who need emergency health funds.”
The Shirt is indeed for sale, and there is no rule it cannot be worn in future seasons or on days without games. While Notre Dame beat writers are not known for wearing Irish gear, they do have nephews with 10th birthdays coming up in two weeks.