By Joe Stevens
COLLEGE NOTEBOOK
A Non-Traditional Tradition
   As Columbia wallowed in season upon 
season of winless football in the mid-1980s, 
a game within the football game flourished - 
the Lions' halftime show. 
   A bare-bones and unconventional outfit, 
the Columbia band was prone to bizarre 
behavior, which typically left spectators 
scratching their heads and wondering exactly 
what they saw.  
   After the Lions' atypically successful 
8-2 season in 1996, the band reached a 
crossroads and had to decide how it would 
develop. After a brief debate, it decided  [Actually, it wasn't really a debate - 
to continue its tradition of wacky antics. The Administration said "clean up" and
During Columbia's 24-7 home loss to 	   we've been struggling with them ever since]
Pennsylvania, the 27-member outfit showed 
its classic form. 
   The band's announcer, Martin Maraz, 	   [That's "Mraz"]	
started the halftime show in front of the 
3,900 fans at Wien Stadium with the 
proclamation: "Back despite our anarchistic 
tendencies, it's the Columbia University 
haymarket riot." 
   This announcement followed the staid, 
professional-sounding Penn band, whose 
announcer referred to Columbia's band as 
"small and cheap." 
   But the Lions' band does not mind its 
minuscule size. The band received undivided 
attention from the fans as it played three 
songs in its "halftime salute and gala to 
things dead and gone." 
   Its first tune was an offbeat tribute to 
John Denver, who died in a plane crash last 
week. The band had worried about offending 
fans of Denver, but Maraz retorted: "We're 
not making fun of him. We're playing a 
tribute." [And if you believe that, there's this bridge you might be interested in...]
   Maraz said Columbia's band started its 
unconventional ways in 1963 and has put on 
countless memorable performances, including 
one in 1970 when it re-enacted the invasion 
of Cambodia with a fire on the field. 	   [We wish.. We just did a formation of flaming villagers.]
   Maraz, a junior, said that in his 
opinion, the band's greatest feat in his 
three years occurred last season on a visit 
to Cornell. Band members sabotaged one of 
the two pools of water next to the football 
field, which flow red in support of the Big 
Red. The band dyed one of the man-made water 
strips blue. 

[Okay, hold it, hold it, stop the article.
Mispellings and slight factual errors i can
handle, but this is just plain nuts. First
of all, there are no pools of water. Martin
was talking about the red C's in the middle
of Cornell's football field. The reporter 
must have heard it as "red seas" Anyway, in
1995, someone painted the C on the Columbia 
side blue. As for whether or not the deed 
was done by three Band members on a cold 
November night, here's what Martin tells me:

"I repeated 3 times to the reporter the 
actual event: 'The red Cornell C, you know,
the one on the field, happened to become a 
baby-blue C.' I then said, with great 
inflection, 'But the Band knows nothing 
about that, we were 70 miles away, asleep 
in our beds.' Each time he didn't understand.
I then said, 'Look. There are 2 red C's, 
for Cornell, on their field. *Somebody*, 
we can't begin to guess who, got on the 
field and painted the C blue, like 
Columbia blue. WE DON'T KNOW ANYTHING 
ABOUT IT. Get it?' I then winked 7 times, 
elbowed him in the ribs, and punched him 
in the liver, but I don't think he 
understood."

Now back to the article.]

   On Saturday, after playing Columbia's 
alma mater, Maraz announced a roundabout 
song lead-in that referred to Russian 
president Boris Yeltsin as a party animal. 
After Maraz explained to the crowd, "Nothing 
says old-style, imperial power like the 
B-52s' Love Shack,' " the band played the 
popular dance song. 
   As an English major, Maraz predicted 
that his fate, when he leaves the band, will 
follow the path of previous band members. 
"I'm going to end up asking for change on 
116th and Broadway," he said.