Thursday, August 03, 2017

Madison NOISE Honor Kelly Donovan With Uniform Tribute

Mixed ultimate frisbee team from Madison honor late teammate Kelly Donovan with tribute on jerseys.

Madison NOISE played in their first ultimate tournament for the 2017 club season on July 8-9 and were seen sporting updated jerseys which honored a former teammate. Kelly Donovan unexpectedly passed away from a sudden cardiac arrest while coaching an ultimate practice at Ingraham High School's (Seattle, WA) in December 2016. Kelly played on NOISE from 2011 through 2015.

SLUDGE reached out to NOISE to hear Coach Nicholas "Niko" Heckman provide insight about the team's beautiful tribute.

How was the design developed?
After Kelly passed in December 2016, everyone on the team arrived at the conclusion that we should do something on our uniforms to honor her this season beyond just retiring #80 which she wore. It was definitely a collective decision. We did some brainstorming together and these are the ideas that rose to the top. I created the Illustrator designs but the ideas came from everyone.

Why the chevrons?
Before she passed, Kelly had five chevrons tattooed on her inner bicep representing her years on the team. Four were empty and the last was filled in gold/yellow representing her last year in 2015 when we made [USA Ultimate Club] Nationals for the first time.

For us, all five chevrons are filled in gold because those five years are far more important than Nationals ever could be.
chevron tattoo

NOISE jerseys:
The dark jerseys are black with 5 gold chevrons on the front.
Mike Swain [photo via Steamboat]
The white jerseys have a different design - also gold - with the chevrons and #80 (Kelly's number, which we've retired) on the sleeve.
Ness Cannaday
Why gold?
In parallel to this process several former teammates of ours were designing and fundraising for a number of discs to be distributed to youth players. The Kelly Donovan LIVE LOUD discs had a logo designed by Claire Kelley from a photo of Kelly in her trademark gold skirt. We considered using this logo as part of our uniforms but it also became adopted by Ultiworld for their D-III Donovan Award logo, so we decided to go in a different and more symbolic direction. We knew immediately that we wanted gold as part of our theme.

What else went into the production of NOISE jerseys?
We had to do a lot of research about different printing techniques. In 2014 we had  - at Kelly's suggestion, in fact - worn white jerseys with logos on the front printed in metallic gold ink. The numbers on the back were a different gold heat-press material. The numbers remained looking shiny for years, but the logos on the front faded very quickly after being washed into more of a matte brown. We knew it might be possible to do the entire logo in the heat press material from the number, but didn't know which suppliers did that process or how it would turn out so our captains reached out to a number of different companies this year before landing on the local one so that we could have more oversight of the process and see samples along the way.

During our research we also reached out to the women's team [Columbus] Rival, who had gold logos last year. They put us in contact with Oshadega's Rodger Oakes, who was involved with the printing of that team's final jerseys. Rodger gave us some valuable insight into different methods for achieving the gold look. Basically you can go with screen printing inks, but they fade quickly when washed into that brown-ish color like we had experienced. Gold foil prints have the best metallic look, but also can come off in the wash. And finally you can indeed create logos cut from the heat-press material that is often used for numbers, which Rival has most recently switched to. That isn't quite as shiny but it still has a nice metallic look to it and it may be the longest-lasting option, but you should avoid warm washes and drying machines.

How did the team enjoy the jerseys so far?
After wearing the black jerseys in the 90 degree weather at Pro-Elite Challenge, the team latched onto the mantra: Play hot, look fly, wash cool, don't dry.

ADDENDUM: Other Madison club teams - Boomtown Pandas, Mad Udderburn, and Old Fashioned - also have the #80 on their 2017 jerseys. [via]

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