“Fight Songs”


Before I move into the music of my more adult life after college, I am backtracking to include the songs I learned to sing at sporting events throughout school. The proof of how enduring these songs are is that when a dear friend of mine went into early labor, I drove her to the hospital regaling her with these tunes. They worked, by the way, and she held onto the baby until full term. She has never let me live it down, but that was the encouragement that came out of my deep brain at 2 in the morning.

The grade school song went “Fight, fight, fight for Riverdale. For colors blue and gold. Fight, fight, fight for Riverdale for teams both brave and bold.” Then, more realistically, the verse went,”If she loses, if she wins, you may be sure it can be told, To our colors we’ll be true all hail the blue and gold.” How often does a fight song even suggest that the team might lose? At least we would still have our colors!

Our high school’s mascot was the cardinal, particularly ironic since there are no cardinals in Oregon. Here the push was “We’re loyal to you Lincoln High, We’re red and we’re white Lincoln High.” (Colors play a big part in fight songs.) No wimping out here, “we expect a victory from you Lincoln High.”

Finally at Harvard I was treated to the loud, but incomprehensible,

Illegitimum non carborundum;
Domine salvum fac.
Illegitimum non Carborundum;
Domine salvum fac.
Gaudeamus igitur!
Veritas non sequitur?
Illegitimum non carborundum — ipso facto!

Your guess is as good as mine. But it was fun to mumble along with everyone else!

6 thoughts on ““Fight Songs”

  1. Music is such a gift that brings you back…so many memories. I can still sing my High School fight song, and the memories of games and pep rallies overtake me:-) Thanks for the reminder!


  2. Illegitimum non carborundum – “Don’t let the bastards grind you down”, according to Wikipedia. Interesting history on this fight song. My dad took two years of Latin while attending his Catholic high school in the 40’s. When I was a kid he would (mock) yell Latin phrases at me. I suppose he thought they sounded severe, but I thought they were funny. I would start laughing, then he would break character and begin laughing too. I’m like you, the more I write, the more I remember childhood memories.


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