As a youngster, one of the things that attracted me to the game of college football and college sports in general was the band. Whether it was the marching band at football games or the pep band at hockey and basketball games, I loved it.
Before they ripped it out, I would go down on the old Jack Ryder track at Alumni or ask my Dad to get seats across from the student section at McHugh Forum or near the band at Roberts Center, just to be nearer the action, to feel the game better.
"For Boston" became my favorite song. It was played at seemingly every turn, whether it be after a touchdown, goal or basketball timeout. The BC band played it and played it often.
Fight songs are the life blood of what college bands provide, they are the most identifiable rallying cry for fans of any university. It is not like going to a Patriots game, where the music changes with the generations, college fight songs are a constant, something that have called the masses for a hundred years or more.
Over the years, that all changed...but why?
Just watch pretty much any college football game and tell me what you hear. Although not all, the vast majority of university bands belt out the fight song time and time and time again during a game. Whether it is USC, Notre Dame, Michigan, Texas, Georgia, you name it, the fight song is used to celebrate, to rally, to inspire. It is played after scores, after timeouts, at points of contention, it brings fans and the moments just passed or the moments to come into greater importance.
At BC..not so much. Here we get "For Boston" guaranteed at a football game, a grand total of 4 times per game (live) outside of touchdowns or field goals. Pre-game, on the team's entrance, at the end of the game and after the alma mater at the game's end. We get it twice more at the end of the half and as the team runs out of the locker room after halftime, but that is recorded. For basketball and hockey games, the story is pretty much the same.
At the UMass game, even after a field goal (and we know that was big enough to elicit the largest cheer from a moribund crowd all day), the band sat there and played nothing. Must have been a food break or something!
I actually had to reach out and ask the people in the band why they stopped playing it at the end of the football halftime show a few years ago and was told that their show times were limited. Interestingly enough, it was brought back the next week...all 28 seconds of it.
And that's a funny thing about college fight songs. They don't take much time. Put your stop watch on, a refrain of the average college fight song takes, you guessed it..28 seconds. Brother, can you give me 28 seconds pretty much anytime I need it?
This year, we've gone even a step further. Now after a touchdown, where For Boston used to be played, then sung and then played again, we skip the singing part. Guess the words were hard to remember, because now it's a few drum beats waiting for the PAT and then let's play it again. I think that is what the old NCAA Football games on PlayStation and Xbox did too...speed it up!
STOP...tradition...play it, sing it, play it. What's the rush?
Chances are, we will hear Tiger Rag a lot more often on Friday night than we will For Boston. Granted the Clemson band will be in attendance at a road game, but that's an entirely different story and the game most likely will dictate more Tiger TDs and FGs, but still, just listen.
Here's what I would like to see. Sometime other than a touchdown or field goal, sometime when the crowd or the team needs a pick me up..play it...rally the troops...For Boston.