In honor of College Colors Day, the Original Retro Brand continues their season long look at College Football Cheering sections, and today we make our second stop on the tour by meeting with Cameron Thorpe, who is a member of 'The Shirt Committee.' which works on "The Shirt Project." While "The Shirt Committee/Project" isn't the actual cheering section (there is no official name for this), the role it plays for the 80,000 plus that fill the seats on Saturdays is undeniable.
Andy: Can you tell us in a nutshell, what the "The Shirt Project" is all about?
Cam: "The Shirt" is a shirt designed every year by a committee of students, and come opening day of the football season you can see it all over the Notre Dame campus. But it's more than just a student section shirt. The Shirt Project is a charity primarily. All of our profits go back to the students by helping pay for students with extraordinary medical conditions that require payment beyond their means, helping students pay for dances, football tickets, books, etc. that they could not otherwise afford, and contributing to student clubs and organizations.
Andy: Yes, MUCH MORE than just a shirt. What is your title, and what are some of your responsibilities as a member of The Shirt Committee?
Cam: I was an executive committee member for The Shirt Project. Our committee consisted of seven students, and we all got together weekly to design the shirt, plan the marketing, plan the unveiling ceremony, along with many other tasks. So we were all involved with a number of different responsibilities. However, my primary contribution was designing the website (theshirt.nd.edu), and keeping it updated throughout the year.
Andy: When is the "Unveiling" planned for this year, and who will be the featured speaker?
Cam: The unveiling happens every year the Friday before the Blue and Gold game in the spring. The past two years Head Coach Brian Kelly has spoken, and was up on the stage with us as the shirt was unveiled. Last year Mike Golic (ND & NFL alum) was the MC for the event as well. So it has really turned into a pretty cool event, and the whole weekend is a pretty fun time.
Andy: You'd have to live under a rockne, I mean rock, to not know about the glorious traditions of Notre Dame Football. Did you grow up your entire life a Notre Dame fan? Can you try and explain what Saturday football mornings at South Bend are like - especially on "Unveiling" day?
Cam: Notre Dame football really is something special. I grew up in New Hampshire, and had no family ties or friends who went to Notre Dame, but there was always a draw for me. I remember my Dad and I watching the games and kind of becoming fans during the Brady Quinn/Jeff Samardzija days when I was in high school, but nothing compares to being in South Bend for a football Saturday. Waking up for that first Saturday freshman year vs. San Diego St. and walking around campus was unbelievable. Seeing a campus of about 10,000 people turn into one with about 110,000 people is mind blowing, and everything from the football games on the quads to the people grilling and tailgating in all the parking lots, to the student concession stands is truly something you have to experience. One of the coolest things that I really feel makes ND special is how friendly our fans are too. Everyone is so excited for the game and random people will give you food and drinks at their tailgates, you'll see ND fans pointing the opposing fans in the directions they need to go, and you even see a ton of tailgates with fans from both schools mingling (unless it's USC or Michigan). It's a pretty awesome experience. The Unveiling day is kind of a way to bring people a taste of the fall in the spring. We schedule it the same weekend as the Blue and Gold game so that the whole weekend really becomes a "football weekend." Crowds show up to see the new Shirt and buy it so that Saturday you get the same tailgating and crowds packing Notre Dame stadium as any other game.
Andy: We understand that you have an obvious emotional attachment to "The Shirt." It's a long season though, and you also like wearing The Original Retro Brand gear. What is it you like so much about our line?
Cam: The Retro Brand t-shirt fits great and is very soft and comfortable. I like it because it's a really cool design (Cam wearing the shirt he's talking about to the left) where I could wear it to a game or around campus, but it's a comfortable enough shirt to just wear when I'm lounging around. From one shirt designer to another I give it a thumbs up!
Andy: Thanks for the thumbs up, and the great work you do Cam!
The Fighting Irish visit their aforementioned arch-enemy Michigan Wolverines this Saturday, in what will be the first home night game ever "Under the Lights" in Ann Arbor.