The Lowe Down

Come Roar for Columbia's Lions

By Benjamin Lowe

Columbia Daily Spectator

Earlier this term, I had to read an article titled, ''The Sound of One

Hand Clapping.'' Written by Richard Rose, it had to do with modern

American Presidents and how their ability to influence international

decision making has waned now that America is not as economically

and militarily strong relative to other countries as it used to be.

Exciting stuff, I know.

Don't worry, this is not an essay covering the geopolitical history

and development of the American Presidency--I will have my fair

share of writing on that this term. Rather, I am hoping to use the

image and idea Rose used for his article's title in a discussion about

school spirit at Columbia, which one could argue is also the sound

of one hand clapping.

My friends and I have spent the past month attending all of

Columbia's home football games--games in which the team has gone

2-1 with an average margin of victory of 13 points. The exception,

of course, was the heartbreaking 3-point overtime loss to Princeton.

Anyway, as you know by now with my columns, there is a problem.

Surprisingly, it's nothing the Administration has done. Well, at least

none that I can tell.

Students don't show up for football games, and when they do their

cheering, if you could call it that, it would be best described as the

sound of one hand clapping.

Take, for example, the fact that the average student does not know

Columbia's three main fight songs: ''Roar, Lion Roar,'' ''Who Owns

New York!'', and'' Stand Up and Cheer!''

Ask a student about ''Sans Souci'' (THE ALMA MATER) and you'd

probably look at someone with a puzzled look on his face. And

forget about expecting them to stop, maybe stand up, and listen to it

being played by the marching band.

Add to that the fact that, when students do make the trip up to

Lawrence A. Wien Stadium at Baker Field, they hardly cheer, and

what you get is a team probably scratching its head as to why you

could hear a pin drop on the sideline.

A bunch of friends and I went to Baker Blast to watch the Lions

destroy Fordham by the score of 47-22. Granted, it was a strong

crowd, but the reality was that the game was one of two trips most

make uptown. Homecoming is the next and last.

My girlfriend went to Baker Blast with my friends and me.

(Nevermind that it was her first trip to the stadium.) A native of

Dallas, she has seen her fair share of high school football, best

explained as something more sacred than church itself in the Lone

Star State.

She casually mentioned to me that the crowds at her high school

games were more intense than the assembled multitudes at

Columbia's first night football game. It was an off-the-cuff remark,

but it was also frighteningly accurate.

As expected, attendance at the past two home games has also been

pretty dismal. Perhaps a better crowd would have helped the Lions

hold off the Tigers, who came back to win in overtime despite being

down 10 points with five minutes to play.

They didn't seem to need a crowd for Lafayette--that team just plain

stunk--though it would have been better to see more there. The only

bad thing about the game was that they kept scoring. My friend Greg

and I did a total of seven CU flag runs, amounting to about a mile in

total running.

(We tried going around the field for the seventh, but only made it

about 300 meters.)

We--I mean the team--crushed Lafayette. Combine that with a Mets

win and a Yankee drubbing at the hands of Oakland, and a lot of

people could have had their days made.

Unfortunately, it was the parents--not the students--who had their

days made.

There is still time, however, to atone for the dismal performance

over the past month. Let the goal of becoming better fans motivate

you for what I am going to ask of you:

First, learn the lyrics to the aforementioned fight songs. If you have

trouble tracking down the lyrics, e-mail me (BYL5@columbia.edu)

or contact the band directly at www.Cumb.org.

Second, pay attention to the game. I know you had a great time at

1020 last night, but that doesn't need to be all you care about while

you're at the game. Don't just watch the game, but also pay attention

to the band and their shows--believe me it's funny, especially

because they make fun of administrators and other Ivy League


Third, have fun. You don't have to study all the time.