Friday, June 23, 2006

Stop the Presses! | by Pat

They must be stopped. They have been around for years, but lately have taken on a life of their own. Of course, I'm talking about the Notre Dame Gameday T-Shirts. Someone, somewhere needs to be taken to task for allowing nearly all of the designs on this year's crop to see the light of day.

I don't even know where to start. Normally, I'm all for the game day idea. There are a million and one different ND shirts in the bookstore and I have no problem with them selling one commemorating a particular game. But what used to be relatively plain shirt listing the date and the opponent is truly becoming an embarrassment. For some reason it was decided recently that each shirt needed some sort of pithy, snappy phrase or a jumble of fonts and colors. Why? The decision making process that led us to these abominations needs to be exposed and questioned.

Let's take a look at some of this year's shirts.

First of all, I'm not sure why exactly they felt the need to put the battle cry of our opponent on the shirt. I checked the Georgia Tech online bookstore and they don't have a shirt that says "Fightin' Irish!" But the true noodle scratcher on this shirt is the sub-headline "Two Teams to a Gridiron". Did anyone bother during the design process bother to say "you know, that's a pretty stupid thing to put on a shirt."
Update: It seems I read it wrong. It should read "Two Teams RAMBLIN' to a Gridiron WRECK!" That's not much better.

"Playin' for January"? It's especially puzzling since they made another gameday jersey for this game and left it plain save a small "Play Like A Champion Today" logo. This same inability to avoid adding unnecessary text also plagues the Purdue, UCLA, Air Force, and Stanford shirts. Especially the Stanford shirt.

Whoa. September Centerfold: Battle of Super Models? Are they serious? There are so many jokes here I don't really know where to start. Thankfully, I don't think I need to point out the obvious with this shirt as the Bookstore has already pulled it from distribution. You ebay junkies out there might just want to try and find this soon-to-be collector's item that compares the two winningest programs in college football to airbrushed eye candy. Hopefully the replacement design is a little more subdued.

What a minute. Where are the nonsensical sayings and silly fonts? Could it be a normal looking game day shirt? Huzzah! I'll overlook the fact that it is for an away game and the same color as the primary color found at said away game and say that is is the style that should be copied by all game day shirts. Clear, concise, and clutter free. A+. The North Carolina shirt is similar, but the big powder blue text and feeling that Notre Dame and UNC aren't on speaking terms knock it down to around a B-.

Nothing like calling the Army cowards. Apparently enough people already complained as this shirt has been pulled from the shelves. Hopefully if they come out with a new version they manage to avoid insulting anyone.

Like with the Army shirt, do we really need to rub the 42 game winning streak in Navy's nose? The gameday shirt last year did the same thing. It just highlights the big disconnect somewhere in the gameday design process. Last year, Weis brought the team over to sing alongside Navy after the game and we still print up a shirt putting them down? Thankfully, like the Michigan and Army shirts, this shirt has been pulled as well. But you really have to question why this was even approved in the first place.

Finally a decent-looking, low-key design. But look closer. Here's a copy of the text for your enjoyment:

Outlined against a blue, gray November sky of the midwestern plains, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame ride again. This time they head out west for a much anticipated gridiron battle versus the Trojans of Southern California.

Much snappier than the original Grantland Rice text, don't you think? I do have to give the Bookstore some credit though. Someone at least has a sense of humor. When I went to save the image of this shirt from the bookstore, this is the image's file name: 60320-ND06U$C.jpg. Nice.

Well wasn't that a fun little trip. And I didn't even mention the most illogical shirt in the latest Bookstore catalog. The Irish "Black Shirts" shirt. What are the Irish "Black Shirts"? Are we now copying Nebraska -- even if it was ND alum George Kelly who originated the Husker's Black Shirt tradition -- or is this a reference to Italian facist paramilitary groups? Perhaps it's a nod to the jerseys Mike Brey's Irish hoops squad wore last year. You never know, it's not like black ND uniforms aren't out there.

Wrapping things up, I would really hope that the fine folks at the Bookstore take some time to re-examine the whole concept of the Gamedayt-shirt. In the meantime I sincerely hope that people refrain from buying them. If you have to get another Notre Dame shirt, there are countless other options. But voting with your wallet on shirts like this will be far more effective to letters to the Bookstore or whiny blog posts.

UPDATE: One Irish message board poster received the following reply from the Bookstore. Sounds like they are taking care of the situation.