Notes from the Geetar: Get the Red Out

el kabong with geetar

Notre Dame’s home field advantage has been a topic of extensive discussion for quite a while, especially since the Stadium expanded. When Nebraska came to Notre Dame in 2000, we had the infamous “Sea of Red”. When Georgia visited in 2017, the hue repeated to an extent (although there may be an explanation for that).

But shouldn’t we be putting more effort in? How can we as fans contribute to a win? How can we let the team know we’re there? It’s not always an easy thing to do, but there seems to be plenty of enthusiasm to, if you’ll excuse the phrase, give it the old college try.

Trying to create that advantage, however, involves walking a thin line. As much as people may roll their eyes at the “Welcome to Notre Dame” stuff, you’d be lying if you said you don’t take a bit of pride in that. When you hear stories about people’s trips to Ann Arbor, Columbus, and other mouth-breathing nexus, part of you is glad you don’t have to worry about that kind of thing in South Bend.

Having said that, there has to be a way to bring more focus to Notre Dame’s presence both at home and on the road, right? Of course there is, and we’re going to talk about those options right now.


If we’re going to have this discussion, we have to set some ground rules.

Ground Rule #1: When it travels, Notre Dame gets its opponents’ best efforts both on the field and off. It’s kind of like reading your friends’ Facebook feeds — it’s all about the one kid graduating magna cum laude, but the younger brother with the meth lab ain’t getting nearly the bandwith.

Put more visually, we all saw this display a couple weeks ago:

But when we’re gone … and it’s not at night ….

I think Dom said it best:

Ground Rule #2: Everybody wants to see our house. Notre Dame is a bucket list destination, and when you have a team visiting for the first time in a while (if not ever), some people will try to move mountains. As the article linked above said, the Georgia fans in 2017 were willing to pay through the nose. If 2016 had been a better season, maybe ND fans would have been more resistant. But, as the saying goes, it wasn’t so they weren’t. When there’s a unique game on the schedule, ND fans who have more opportunity to be in Notre Dame Stadium may take advantage, and while we want to get to a point where that’s less of an issue, that’s on the long-term want list.

None of that, though, means we shouldn’t try. To that end, I have a couple ideas.


Schools like Georgia can make their presence felt because their primary color is eye-catching. As ND fans saw in 2000, if every fan of the other team shows up in a primary color, you’re going to know they’re there.

In this regard, Notre Dame is starting off behind the 8-ball. Navy Blue is not an eye-catching color during the day, and it’s even worse at night. I’m not suggesting their long-time primary uniform hue be abandoned, but we have to start thinking outside the box a little.

Step 1: Agree to wear something consistent. ND fans can’t be showing up wearing whatever they want. If we’re going to do this, thought and planning is required, so the agreement has to be made up front.

Step 2: Agree on what that color is. We’ve established that the navy blue is out. That leaves us with the official ND gold, RGB #D39F10. The gold is good, and may stand out better at night games.

But I’d prefer ND adopt an actually kelly green in the permitted spectrum, especially for day games. There’s a “tertiary” assignment of #00843D, but it’s a little deep. I’ve always been a fan of the 1977 uniforms (and in fact wish ND would wear them full-time), and regardless of how much gold would stand out in the dark, still want the more-Irish representative color.

Regardless, pick something with visual reaction in mind.

And finally, the step I hope won’t be the deal-breaker….

Step 3: Make that color the primary color sold, including The Shirt. Yes, if it’s the same color each year, there’s a chance ND fans will skip buying it every now and then. Have confidence in your fanbase and their desire to support The Shirt’s charitable efforts. Sacrifice a couple dollars to help support the team in a non-financial way.


There aren’t a lot of visual opportunities during ND games. There’s a well-established tradition with the 1812 Overture (provided, as I said, they slow it down a little). But a nice organically-grown effort seemed to show itself at the Southern Cal game. Irish fans augmented their usual arm movements during 1812 with the flashlights on their cell phones, creating a nice effect in the dark outside the field boundaries.

(I’d love to show it to you, but my video searches have come up empty. Perhaps someone will have it in the comments below)

My antipathy towards night games notwithstanding, this is a great example of Fighting Irish fans creating something they can call their own.


Notre Dame certainly has its in-game traditions, including the 1812 Overture (provided they play it a little more slowly). But I think there’s room for other things just as Irish, and I was inspired by another school’s choice recently.

A couple weeks ago, I caught the end Kansas State’s upset of highly-ranked Oklahoma. The fans in the stands were wearing their distinct purple, which always helps. But they had a unique send-off for the Sooner fans as the game wound down, and I thought it was a very appropriate song to use:

(yeah, that’s not them playing it at the game, work with me)

Finding something directly applicable to your school creates a strong affiliation and is something you can use to bind your fans together. Kansas is a plains horse-riding state, so they chose a very appropriate song and made it their own.

So how can Notre Dame do the same? Anyone can use Seven Nation Army or Shipping Off to Boston or any of the other mass-media-type songs available. Using something unique to us that other schools would look stupid trying to copy? Now we’re talking.

But where would we find such a song? Why am I asking you?

Let’s familiarize ourselves with the Wild Rover, an old Irish song that I know the Band of the Fighting Irish can play because I’ve seen/heard them do it:

(I know, Dropkick Murphys, I’m trying to get people on board here)

It’s got a good beat, so you can lead into it with the drum section to get the crowd into it. Everyone should be able to clap their hands four times. All you need is some lyrics.


Yeah, helps if we win, but you gotta start somewhere. I doubt the KSU band unloads Happy Trails when they’re down three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

That would be a song the whole Irish crowd could take part in, at football games and basketball games or soccer games or whatever. It’s got a good rhythm so crowds could sing it a capella. It’d be even better with lyrics for the lead in verse, but I’ve taxed my creativity writing this article in the first place, so I’m depending on you folks to throw in some ideas.

Tell Mike what you think (or suggest some lyrics) in the comments below

20 thoughts on “Notes from the Geetar: Get the Red Out

  1. Mike. Kelly green should be “The Shirt” color every year for the reasons you suggest. Green outs should be at all our home games and green the color for away games as well. I’m an alum, season ticket holder who has been going to Irish games for over 50 years and always feel that something is missing at our confusing multi color fan colors. Thanks for leading this effort.

  2. Weren’t the students singing “Wild Rover” in the fourth quarter in the past couple of years? I remember hearing it on TV. I don’t know if it was a spontaneous student thing or organized by the school, but I agree it’s a great song for a crowd to sing. Can imagine 80,000 singing it, like an English soccer crowd.

  3. Mike, you are right. Notre Dame fans should be wearing the same color and green would work well. I have noticed for years that ND fans wear so many different colors and they do not stand out like at other stadiums.

    I want to bring up something about the ACC Network. If you are an Xfinity customer living in the South Bend area, the Notre Dame Duke football game will be unavailable this weekend. That will affect over 100,000 customers. The irony here is that Notre Dame is in the ACC for sports other than hockey and football, and you can watch many of the hockey games on NBCSN or the Big 10 network when the ND games are away at a Big 10 school. The irony here is that when I watch “Inside Notre Dame Football” Xfinity is advertised as one of the Notre Dame sponsors. Notre Dame is located in South Bend, IN, they are part of the ACC for sports other than football, yet Xfinity is not offering the game and last night’s basketball game with North Carolina was also unavailable because it was on the ACC Network. I have called corporate at Comcast and I was told that several others have called to complain about no offering of the ACC Network. I also called and left a message at Notre Dame for game day events and I suggested that in the spirit of Notre Dame it would be nice if ND would open up the basketball arena to show the football game on the big screen in Purcell Pavilion, or open up the stadium for fans to see the game on the jumbo tron. This would be a great way for ND to extend some great PR to the local community. Catholic means universal and it would be nice if Notre Dame extended that hospitality to those who would like to watch the game. Who am I though? I am not a big multi-million dollar alumni donor, so what I have to say will probably fall on proverbial “deaf” ears .
    GO IRISH. BEAT Duke!

      • It was not so easy. I went with YouTube TV and could only get it on my laptop, not my regular TV. I have a projector and screen and a whole litany of cords and got to watch the game, but Xfinity should have the ACC Network. I waited for an Xfinity agent to call me back about trying to hook up to my tv and no one ever called me back. I am glad ND won, but it was not easy trying to stream on my regular TV. GO IRISH, Beat Navy!


        Still would have been nice if ND would have played the game in basketball arena on big screen to promote community.

  4. Great article Mike. “the Shirt” should always be bright kelley green. Our stadium is a morgue compared to our opponents esp the large state schools. Why is that? I think because their fan base is in close proximity and they graduate 3-4x as many students/fans each year who attend the home games. I have been attending ND games for over 50 years, but for the first time in decades I have decided to stay home and watch on big screen HD. Why? Night games. Virtually every “big” game is played at night for the TV revenue. Never mind the people who paid big money for the tickets (plus the new yearly fees for season tickets), the travel costs etc…….endure frequent nasty night time October/November weather. And now we have where tickets are being scalped at astronomical prices with the university’s approval.
    Get used to seeing seas of RED and other opponent colors in the house Rockne built.

  5. This is all good, but it doesn’t address the lackluster attitude of the non-student ND fans in the stands. The team needs to have more energetic support from those thousands of mannequin-like zombies who act like they’re watching a polo match. I propose that we re-purpose the ushers in the stands. Equip them with tasers and instruct them to zap any fans who fail to cheer like maniacs for the Fighting Irish, or those who even try to shush other fans so as not to wake the sleeping infant they have so inappropriately brought inside the stadium. We need to light a fire under these comatose slugs, literally. And find a babysitter, people. Football is a contact sport, both on the field and in the stands.

    • Amen. The USC game was as quiet as I have seen it, until the last half of the 4th quarter. People would not stand. People would not cheer. It was like we were at the opera waiting till the end to clap.

  6. Great article. But you missed the most important part. The product. ND has to put a product on the field that no matter how valuable the ticket, ND fans want to be in the stadium and not at home counting their money.

  7. Two good ideas- – like the shirt as the green like those great jerseys and the music. In fact, I would even buy “the shirt” in that color even though I’ve sworn off buying anything w/ ND brand until Slimy and Kuless are history.

  8. I too have called, chatted, emailed, etc., Comcast/Xfinity, regarding the non-coverage of the ACCNetwork here in PA… and I suggest all subway alumni and fan base do the same. With the Duke game not being able to be viewed this Saturday, along with future Men’s and
    Women’s basketball games! I told them I am totally disappointed, disgusted and upset. Just this morning I started a trial subscription to Sling TV (just so I can watch the game) So, Comcast is in jeopardy of losing a long term customer!
    My vote is GREEN also!!!
    BTW… purchase tickets through VividSeats for the ND – Penn State hockey game January 31st… COST ME $100/pc.

    Go Irish

  9. Mike: Don’t disagree with a thing you suggested, but also think there needs to be some shade thrown at those, ESPECIALLY ND faculty and staff, who have preferred ticket availability and regularly sell big game seats to opposing fans. Don’t have a practical suggestion to police this, but profitable treachery sans consequences breeds more treachery.

    Since nobody else has (yet), here are some Wild Rover lyric suggestions (game day/home game specific):

    Verse: Our Irish Have Kicked Butt For Many a Year/And We’ve Toasted Their Triumphs With Whiskey and Beer/ When This Game Is Over, We’ll Toast Them Again/ ‘Cause There’s No Way The Second-Best Team’s Gonna Win

    Chorus: And It’s No, Nay Never/No Nay Never No More/ No You Won’t Beat The Irish/ No Never No More!

    Verse 2: We Never Give Up and We Never Give In/ And If One of Ours Falls, We Just Say ‘Next Man In’/ We’re Irish Forever, Don’t Get In Our Way/ Or We’ll shake Down The Thunder and Blow You Away!

    Chorus: And It’s No Nay Never/ No Nay Never No More / No You Won’t Beat the Irish/ No Never No More!

  10. How about we all agree to tell stodgy old farts to kindly just be quiet it when they demand we sit down. (And I’m an old fart, just not stodgy) I was at Ann Arbor and the entire place stood for the whole game. Maybe if our fans didn’t average 57 years old we might have a little more noise and rowdiness in the stands.

  11. Good idea, good article. I always thought The Pogues, Body of an American, would be a good song for ND. You may remember it from that show The Wire. It is about an Irish American boxer who beat the hell out of everyone and returns to Ireland to be buried. . . .I think. Regardless, it gets my Irish American blood pumping and ready to rumble. I have to imagine a crowd singing “I’m a free born man of the USA!” would be fun:

    The cadillac stood by the house/And the yanks they were within/And the tinker boys they hissed advice/’Hot-wire her with a pin’/Then we turned and shook as we had a look/In the room where the dead men lay/So big Jim Dwyer made his last trip/To the shores where his father’s laid

    But fifteen minutes later/We had our first taste of whiskey/There was uncles giving lectures/On ancient Irish history/The men all started telling jokes/And the women they got frisky/By five o’clock in the evening/Every bastard there was piskey

    Fare thee well, going away/There’s nothing left to say/Farewell to New York City boys, to Boston and PA
    He took them out with a well-aimed clout/And we often heard him say/I’m a free-born man of the USA

    He fought the champ in Pittsburgh/And he slashed him to the ground/He took on Tiny Tartanella/And it only went one round/He never had no time for reds/For drink or dice or whores/And he never threw a fight until the fight was right/So they sent him to the war

    Fare the well, gone away/There’s nothing left to say/With a slainte Joe and Erin go/My love’s in Ameri-kay/The calling of the rosary/Spanish wine from far away/I’m a free born man of the USA

    This morning on the harbour/When I said goodbye to you/I remember how I swore/That I’d come back to you one day/And as the sunset came to meet the evening on the hill/I told you I’d always love you/I always did and I always will

    Fare thee well gone away/There’s nothing left to say/’But to say adieu to your eyes as blue as the water in the bay/And to big Jim Dwyer the man of war/Who was often heard to say/I’m a free born man of the USA/I’m a free born man of the USA/I’m a free born man of the USA

  12. I’ll start giving a crap when ND decides to stop being the largest ticket scalper (by far)

    Until something changes there, nothing Inor anyone else does will make a difference.

  13. Like the article says, when you have a once in a lifetime visit from a traditional power, like Georgia or Nebraska, their fans are going to come in mass quantities. Even Tennessee who has made a few trips to South Bend travels very well. The almighty dollar speaks, not just to the University, but ticket holders as well.
    As far as a color, bouncing between blue and green over the years for nothing more than merchandising has created this mess along with the “Shamrock Series Shirt/Jersey”.
    The University in its infinite wisdom will pick gold as the color since there are so many blues and greens out there. I don’t blame them, more fans will buy gold shirts as a majority of fans have blue and/or green, might as well grab another buck or two in this process.

  14. Frank McGoron says:

    As part of an Irish singing group in Cincinnati, I love the Irish Rover idea with one revision. We started out with the four claps, then two claps after the second line and one after the third.
    And it’s no nay never (clap, clap, clap, clap)
    No nay never no more (clap,clap)
    Will we lose to Blue Devils (clap)
    No never no more.