October 12, 2011

Far Above Cayuga’s Waters, There’s a Lack of Pride

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After several years of being in the Waldo-shirt wearing, sieve-heckling, renegade-road-tripping Cornell Big Red Pep Band, I’ve come to realize that a good chunk of the student body leaves something to be desired when it comes to school spirit. Since I’ve attended a lot of hockey games in my day, I’ll use Lynah as an example.

How many of you know the words to “Far Above Cayuga’s Waters,” the Cornell Alma Mater? If you think that knowing that it starts with “Far above Cayuga’s waters” counts: nope (Chuck Testa?). I would guesstimate that 50 percent of the Lynah Faithful and a good portion of the student body as a whole do not know the words to the first two verses of the Alma Mater, which goes like this:

Far above Cayuga’s waters, with its waves of blue,

Stands our noble alma mater, glorious to view.

Lift the chorus, speed it onward, loud her praises tell;

Hail to thee our alma mater! Hail, all hail, Cornell!

Far above the busy humming of the bustling town,

Reared against the arch of heaven, looks she proudly down.

Lift the chorus, speed it onward, loud her praises tell;

Hail to thee, our alma mater! Hail, all hail, Cornell!

Not knowing the words to the Alma Mater is like growing up in the 90s and not knowing the Barney song. The Alma Mater is something that a lot of old alums take pride in singing at various events across the globe when they come together with their Big Red brethren. Are our future reunions going to be the kind where we sit around awkwardly while two people belt out what is essentially Cornell’s national anthem while the rest of the room silently sways from side to side? Quite frankly, if you can remember the words to “Don’t Stop Believin’” while shit-facedly air-guitaring all over somebody’s living room in a pink toga, you are well and fully capable of memorizing the eight lines of the Alma Mater, two of which repeat.The other three songs that are played at nearly every sports event attended by either the Big Red Pep Band or the Big Red Marching Band include “Davy” (Cornell’s fight song), “MYOC” (My Old Cornell) and “NCFS” (New Cornell Fight Song). Even if you don’t recognize their names, you’d probably recognize their tunes. Though not knowing the words to any of these songs isn’t quite as blasphemous as not knowing the Alma Mater, it wouldn’t kill you to show a little Cornell pride by learning them too. Though the atmosphere in Lynah Rink is already crazy, it would be that much more awesome if the spectators in Lynah knew the words to Cornell songs like they knew the words to Swanee (the tuba song), the sieve chant and Gary Glitter (aka the Hey! song). Think about how intimidated the other team might feel when they come into what they already know is a hostile rink to hear the entire crowd shouting the exact same thing. Pretty damn intimidated, which is why everybody should learn the words to Cornell songs.Your first chance to show off your fancy new hotshot lyrical skills would be this Saturday at the annual Red-White game. It will feature the Red (sucks) and White (superior) bands — who will definitely be playing all four of the abovementioned Cornell songs — and, for the very first time, the women’s hockey team. And it’s about damn time. I would like to point out that Lynah houses not just one, but two hockey teams. The fans in Lynah call themselves the Lynah Faithful but since most of them don’t attend the women’s hockey games they should really be called the Lynah Sort-Of Faithful. If you were a sort-of faithful boyfriend, you might return home to find your car covered in lube. If you were sort-of faithful about taking your birth-control pills, well … you get the idea. The saddest thing about the lack of support for women’s sports is that it isn’t just limited to Lynah — I’ve been to a lot of women’s events and sadly enough the pep band often outnumbers the spectators. Think about how depressing it must be for women’s lax to play in front of 25 people sitting in Schoellkopf, or women’s basketball within a basically empty Newman Arena. I would call it downright embarrassing for Cornell Athletics.If thousands of people can show up to support our football team, which hasn’t won an Ivy Title since the year I was born, I’m sure there are at least a hundred who can come support a women’s team or two, most of which have won some sort of sports title in the past decade. Even if you pregame it, show up in a banana suit or what have you, I’m sure the women’s teams appreciate every single person who comes out to support them.However you want to exhibit your Cornell pride — whether you sing it, arrive in full-body paint, or don spandex like that vaguely sketchy wrestling guy — at the very least you’re exhibiting it, which is what really counts. For the rest of you slackers, rustle up some Cornell apparel and go show your teams some love. Sam Dean is a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She may be reached at sdean@cornellsun.com. Casual WTFery appears alternate Thursdays this semester.

Original Author: Sam Dean