9A long time ago, a writer named George Plimpton wrote a book called Paper Lion. He “played” with the Detroit Lions to see what it was like to be in the locker room of an NFL team. The movie that was made based on the book starred Alan Alda as Plimpton. Early in the movie, there’s a scene where the rookies have to sing their college’s fight song (if you decide to check it out, it occurs at about the 22 minute mark).
And you ask, “Bob, why?” Well, all of that leads me to this.
Back at Big Ten Media Days, the BTN folks cornered some of the players who were in attendance and asked them to sing their school’s fight song. The fight song....not the Alma Mater. It was just a tad embarrassing. To wit:
Well, Rutgers Football apparently thought that Mr. Joseph-Day should know the words to the fight song. To which I ask, why? Who does know them?!
There was someone who commented, oh, it’s RU-Rah Rah! NO! It is not. That’s a cheer that is, interestingly enough, within the fight song. Which for the record is The Bells Must Ring.
You see, around these parts, the only people who know the words (for the most part) are the guys in the Glee Club, because they occasionally sing it, as in the 2011 graduation above. I’ll bet that 99% of the graduates that day were hearing the words for the first time!
And I find that sad (Of course you do, Bob). I mean, really, all these fans kinda sorta know the music and they know when to do the RU Rah Rah cheer stuff. But there are so, so, so few who know those stirring words! We’ll be working on this....and there will be a test. Be prepared!
And if it’s not Rutgers?
There have been many polls and surveys to find the greatest college fight song. I think a lot of us judge them based on what our high school fight song was since most of them were based off college songs. I have my favorites, and a few interesting ones that some might not know. At least not very well.
And yes, since you’ve come this far, you’ll hear them. And then vote. Sit back and relax.
Here come the Irish! Yeah, blah, blah, blah. It is a classic, and it’s likely that your high school or a neighboring school used it. It is probably as well known as any out there. Of course, when I sang it in high school, the line was “Send the seniors out for gin, don’t let a sober sophomore in”. I think that’s likely changed since I was there.
Yes, The Victors is another great one. Not used by high schools around as much as ND Victory March, but it is a rousing song. Someone commented on Twitter that Meechigan should change the line “Champions of the West” to “Third in the division”. Go Blue!
And you wondered what that photo was doing at the top of the post! See how I skillfully wove all this together?
Fight On! is a great piece of music. It looks even better when you see the USC band all wearing their sunglasses. They also do a really cool version, thanks to the movie The Naked Gun, of Louie, Louie. By the way, if you want to listen to just Fight On! and not the fanfare, jump to about the 1:30 mark.
Back in the Big Ten and another fave of high schools. On Wisconsin - not the Budweiser theme song - is the fight song of Bucky and gang.
Texas A & M
I know, you’re thinking, “Wha-a-at?” Not necessarily a great piece of music, although I think it’s got potential. But the words! Only in Texas.
The last word
A lot of “classic” fight songs come out of the Big Ten. And I didn’t even list Minnesota Rouser! Maybe it’s because that was where the tradition of college football took root first. The B1G was the first conference and it still carries a cachet that can’t be matched by any other. Who has the best songs, the best mascots, the best grades? The Big Ten. Suck it, SEC.
The season is just about upon us (there are actually five games today!). Watch enough football on TV and you’ll hear these and a jillion others. Which is the best? Not on this list? Add it in the comments.
Which school fight song is the greatest?
This poll is closed
Rutgers’ The Bells Must Ring: it’s why we read this
Notre Dame’s Victory March: it is the classic, bar none
Michigan’s The Victors: even if Harbaugh isn’t the champion of the west...or east
Southern Cal’s Fight On: power, cool, cute cheerleaders
Wisconsin’s On Wisconsin: not as cool as the Bud song, but hey!
Texas A & M’s War Hymn: never heard it before but....yeah, I got nothin’
Other: there has to be something better (spoiler alert: there isn’t but go ahead)