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
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
(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
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.