By Michael Precker, page 4F
Football field is fertile ground for pranks of halftime hooligans

And now, let's check out some halftime 
highlights around the country:

* At the Colorado School of Mines, band 
members wear flannel shirts, jeans and hard 
hats. The drum major carries a toilet 
plunger. Between numbers, players toss 
Frisbees as they scramble to the next 
position.

One hallowed tradition, says director Ross 
McClure, is the Splitting of the Atom.

As the band forms a giant atom and plays 
Also Sprach Zarathustra, sousaphones attack 
the nucleus. This liberates three other 
sousaphones, disguised as free electrons, 
to break off from the atom and spin around 
the field.

If you're a physics major, Mr. McClure 
promises, this is absolutely hilarious.

"There's no greater prestige than to be one 
of the senior electron breakers," he says.

* Among the Columbia University band's 
exploits in recent years was a halftime 
tribute to Sen. Edward Kennedy, at Harvard 
Stadium.

The band formed a bridge on the field and 
drove a car off it.

* At Stanford University, says band manager 
and trombonist Josh Schiller, "We like to 
call ourselves equal opportunity offenders."

One recent show featured an ersatz Jackie 
Chan, the martial arts film star, beating up
homeless children and the Amish. Mr. 
Schiller says it was funny, though he can't 
really explain why.

The band was banned from Oregon a few years 
back for making fun of spotted owls and 
loggers, which prompted the athletic 
department to demand script approval.

Nevertheless, the following year the drum 
major marched onto the field at Notre Dame 
dressed as a nun.

"He was jumped by an angry fan," Mr. 
Schiller says. "So he changed costumes
and came out as a Hasidic rabbi.

"That got us banned from Notre Dame," he 
says proudly.

* During the baseball strike a couple of 
years ago, the Harvard band formed a 
baseball and began playing Take Me Out to 
the Ballgame - then in midsong, abruptly 
re-formed into a dollar sign and switched to 
Money, That's What I Want.

* The Yale band's repertoire this year has 
included a debate between Bob Dole and Helen 
Keller, moderated by chicken magnate Frank 
Perdue. Tasteful or not, the idea was that 
this was one debate Mr. Dole could win.

"We made a chicken on the field and laid an 
egg that said `GOP,' " says Thomas Duffy, 
Yale's director of bands. "Then we played 
The Old Grey Mare She Ain't What She Used to
Be."

The band has formed "YER OUT" twice to honor 
two distinct personalities: Yankees 
outfielder Darryl Strawberry and Madonna's 
new baby.

* The Marching Lumberjacks at Humboldt State 
University in Northern California wear work
pants, suspenders and orange T-shirts 
proclaiming "Kiss Our Ax."

The annual highlight is the band's 
performance at the nearby Clam Beach Run, 
says Andy Fiddler, the band's ax major.

"Our marching theory is `follow the ax in 
front of you,' " he says. "One year the ax 
major marched straight into the ocean, and 
everybody followed him. So now we do it 
every year.

"We got in National Geographic for that," he 
boasts.

* At the College of Wooster in Ohio, the 
150-member Scot Marching Band all dress in 
kilts. Before each game, the football team 
lines up single file on a hill near the 
stadium. Then, as the band plays, the 
bagpipers appear and lead the team in 
charging down the hill onto the field.

"It's straight out of Braveheart," says 
college publicist Jeff Hanna.