November 17, 2011
The Columbia University Marching Band has been banned from its team's final home game against Brown for making fun of the school's winless football team. Chalk it up as another casualty of the truth.
After a 62-41 loss to Cornell — a game the Lions actually led by six points at the half — the marching band, which usually plays the team's fight song, "Roar, Lion, Roar" as the team walked past it to the locker room, decided to insert some of its own words. From the Columbia Spectator:
Rather than singing the traditional lyrics to Columbia's century-old fight song, many members instead belted an original verse that reflected the losing ways of Lions football—one of a variety of alternative verses that, according to one band member, are meant only for the band bus and Orgo Night, one of the band's most notable traditions. The first two lines say it all: "We always lose, lose, lose; by a lot, and sometimes by a little."
According to [band manager Jose] Delgado, immediately following the incident, a member of the coaching staff confronted the band about the lyrics and the team's reaction.
"Someone spoke to our drum major, and he told her they were upset about it, and immediately after, we banned those lyrics," Delgado said.
On Tuesday, Delgado had to tell the band that it had been banned for its mockery, however accurate. While there's no excuse for the band's disrespect, it's important to note that the Columbia football team is 0-9 this season and only won four games a year ago. Since 2007, the Lions are 11-38, and haven't won more than four games in any season since 2006, when it won five.
This isn't the first time the band has taunted the football team for its futility. From 1983-88, the Lions lost 44 straight games, the second-longest skid in major college football history. In 1985, the band played the theme to the Mickey Mouse Club when the team came onto the field.
The Columbia University Marching Band is the self proclaimed "Cleverest Band in the World" and has even been banned from other universities. This time it got a little too clever for its own good.
"There are probably few people on campus that care more about the football team than the band does," band member Rich Medina told the Columbia Spectator. "For all its snark and cynicism, the band is and always has been one of the last bastions of school spirit at Columbia."
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