By Jay Sharbut, page 16.
Columbia, No Gem of the Gridiron
  Fans Retain a Sound - and Cheerful -
  Perspective Despite Lions' 30-Game 
  Losing Streak

     "Roar, Lion, roar, and wake the echoes 
of the Hudson Valley..."
          - Columbia University fight song 

   Interesting thing about Columbia's 
football team. Not one player is studying 
broadcasting, even though that has replaced
physical education as the preferred major of 
many players at the larger universities.
   Another interesting thing about 
Columbia's football team is that it has lost 
30 games in a row. If it keeps this up, it 
will break Northwestern's National 
Collegiate Athletic Assn. record of 34 
consecutive losses on Oct. 10, 1987, when it
plays Princeton. 
   Still, hopes were high, at least for no 
rain, last Saturday when Columbia's 58-man 
squad suited up for what proved a frank and 
cordial exchange of fumbles here with a 
delegation of hearties from Cornell. 
   The pregame festivities outside Wein 
Stadium, Columbia's home field, featured 
tailgate parties with very dry martinis and
strolling scalpers who gently murmured: 
"Seven-dollar tickets for only $5." 
   But then, this is the Ivy League. 
   The multitudes included an elderly lady 
swathed in mink. She carried a hand-painted 
sign that read "Go Big Red." That meant 
Cornell, not the chewing gum, a 
new-to-the-league visitor was told. 
   It was a day of occasional sun and 
numbing cold. Inside the stadium, however, 
and even though no beer is sold there, the
Columbia faithful were cheering lustily, at 
least for the Columbia marching band's 
musical salute to Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
   But when this was halted by the start of     [ooh! Well put!]
a football game, the impatience that has 
persisted at Columbia for some time could be
noticed. For example, when Cornell gained 12 
yards on a pass, a young Columbia fan in 
horn-rimmed glasses said of his team: 
"That's bad coverage. That stinks." 
   "Go for the field goal," sneered another 
in the party as Cornell marched-OK, a few 
guys also fell down-to the Lion 30. 
   But a third member of their group-all 
appeared to be what some call Yuppies-
refused to abandon hope. "Come on, guys, 
make it difficult," he pleaded as Cornell 
stalled at the Lion 11. 
   The eight ladies and gentlemen of the 
Lion cheerleading squad, clad in Columbia 
blue and white, refused to abandon hope. 
"Dee-fense, dee-fense, get that ball!" they 
   Alas, four minutes into the game, Cornell 
fullback Jeff Johnson, a business management 
major, made his way into Columbia's end 
zone. That augered ill for the Lions, 
32-point favorites to lose when they took 
to the field. 
   On the bright side, no Columbian was 
heard to chant, "Beat the spread," which is 
said to have become a school cheer of sorts. 
   The bad news, other than that the Lions 
must still face Brown today before this 
season is over, was symbolized by the Wein
Stadium public address announcer. As the 
game wore on, he kept saying things about 
the Lions like "fourth and eight," "fourth 
and 16" and even "fourth and 27."  
   The lads fought bravely, and showed a lot 
of heart. But it must take something out of 
even the stoutest heart when the stadium 
announcer, during a lull in the action, 
says: "Attention Columbia class of '52. 
There will be a cocktail reception at the 
boathouse after the game." 
   They pay a lot more attention to football 
at UCLA and Michigan and places like that. 
They also pay a lot more attention to the 
marching bands for the halftime show. 
Cornell did. Its band had four tubas. 
Columbia's had none. 
   "A guy in law school occasionally plays 
for us," said a tambourine player in the 
Lion orchestra. "But I guess he's not here 
   It must be noted that this marching band 
consists of 35 free spirits who would fit 
nicely into Pasadena's annual Doo-Dah          [that's a compliment]
Parade. Columbia's en foot ensemble even has 
a violinist, Catherine Censor. 
   A freshman, she was asked why people 
keep showing up at Columbia games. She 
explained things this way: "Some people like 
hockey fights, some people collect Coke cans 
and some people watch Columbia football."
   Down on the field, meanwhile, Columbia 
fumbled on its 20-yard line just 30 seconds 
before halftime. Cornell, whose turn it was 
to use the football, scored on the next 
play, making it 14-0. 
   "They used to be great," sighed a 
volunteer usher, Tim O'Neill, Columbia '50, 
a tall, ruddy-faced man with a soft-spoken 
Irish mix of wry humor and mild resignation. 
He was asked what might happen if the 
current Lions won.  
   "They'd go crazy," he said, nodding at 
the Columbia faithful in the stands. "But 
there aren't enough people here to make much 
   Indeed. Wein Stadium can hold 17,000 
patrons. On this cold, brisk Saturday, it 
held 4,720. 
   After halftime, when Columbia's marching 
band saluted Cornell's famed school of 
animal husbandry with a ragged rendition of 
"Talk to the Animals," one of the Lion 
minstrels sat down to talk to a visitor. 
   A cheery kid, the young Lion asked to be 
identified only as the unknown band member. 
Sure, he said, it would be nice to win. But 
it's only a game, he said, and education, 
not football, is - or should be - the main 
   As he spoke, Cornell scored again, making 
it 21-0. The unknown band member shrugged. 
He cited the relaxed atmosphere, the lack of 
big-time college hoopla and pressure, the 
sheer fun of getting out on a brisk fall 
   "This is what college football should be, 
not a pro training camp," he said.
   His words lingered long after Columbia's 
30th consecutive loss, long after Cornell 
made the outcome 28-0, long after the 
Columbia Lions refused to say die and called 
a timeout with only 34 seconds left in the