For you new students, you should probably commit the following phrase about Georgetown’s founding to memory now, because you’re going to hear it entirely too frequently: “When John Carroll founded his Academy on the Hilltop in 1789, he . [followed by a description of a vision the founder had either about academics, athletics or spirituality.]”

But for a school as old as Georgetown (the oldest Catholic school in the U.S., as I’m sure you’ve been inundated with by now as well), there aren’t that many traditions that link the many generations of men and women that have passed through these hallowed halls. And by traditions, I don’t mean any “really old ones” that have started since John Thompson showed up in the early 70s.

A few examples of what I’m talking about:

Some schools’ student governments date back as far as the early 1800’s. Ours dates back as far as the early Clinton administration.

Some schools have Greek systems that have ties to the Old World. The closest thing Georgetown has to a Greek system is Olympia of Georgetown, whose best tradition is clearly the relatively timely delivery of souvlahki and tzatzki.

Some schools have secret societies that have produced presidents, Supreme Court justices and Wall Street mavens. We have the Stewards.

In sports too, Georgetown does not have a whole lot of old traditions. Since it joined the Big East, the basketball team’s home court has changed far too often to induce tradition like the Deandome or Cameron at UNC and Duke. Our football team has gone through radical transformations since the days when it played in the Orange Bowl. They just paved over the damn baseball field a year ago and exiled the team to suburban aryland. So much for any tradition there.

Even in terms of rivalries, because of the relatively young pedigree of the Big East conference, most of our rivalries are relatively recent, because before the founding of the conference, most of our opponents were other small and medium-sized Catholic schools on the East Coast like Fairfield and Holy Cross.

But one of the really old traditions we do have is the Georgetown fight song, which is actually a conglomeration of three smaller songs lumped together into one big, long tune. Here’s the thing about the fight song; for as old and traditional as it is, it’s a pretty weird song. Take a look:

It’s been so long since last we metLie down forever, lie downOr have you any money to betLie down forever, lie down!

There goes old GeorgetownStraight for a touchdownSee how they gain groundLie down forever, lie downLie down forever, lie down!

Rah! Rah! Rah!Hurrah for GeorgetownCheer for victory today’Ere the sun has sunk to rest,In the cradle of the westIn the clouds we’ll proudly float the Blue and Gray.

We’ve heard those loyal fellows up at YaleBrag and boast about the `Boola-Boola’We’ve heard the Navy yell, we’ve listened to CornellWe’ve heard the sons of Harvard tellHow Crimson lines could hold them`Choo! Choo! Rah! Rah!’ is dear to Holy CrossThe proud old Princeton Tiger is never at a lossBut the yell of all the yells, the yell that wins the dayIs the `HOYA, HOYA SAXA!’ for the dear old Blue and Gray.

First, let’s talk about the good aspects of this song. One, it’s old, and when it’s sung right, it can have all the requisite snootiness that is associated with other old, academically prestigious universities. Normally, snootiness is not a positive aspect for a song, but in this case I’m all for it, because it makes you feel good about your school; only a few schools have the necessary age and prestige to pull off such a song.

The other good thing about the song is its enduring charm: it’s been around for a long time and pretty much everybody knows it. From time to time it’s even been known to pop up in the middle of parties.

So that’s the up side, which, of course, leaves us with the negative aspects. In an objective sense, the song just isn’t that good if you’re not associated with Georgetown. It’s no “Cheer Cheer for Old Notre Dame,” for example.

Two, the rivals it mentions don’t really make much sense anymore: the only school in there against whom we compete on a regular basis is Holy Cross, in football. (Yeah I know the crew teams row against them, but beyond that, that’s pretty much it.) When was the last time Georgetown played Harvard in anything? It’s pretty weird that the fight song for a school in the Big East doesn’t have a single Big East school in it but instead lists the Ivy League. Call it an inferiority complex, call it antiquated, but whatever it is, it sure is weird.

The other thing that’s off about this song is its premise for why one should cheer for ol’ Georgetown – it can make you money. Never is it said that you should root for Georgetown just because its YOUR school, or because we’re virtuous Catholic soldiers on the fields of friendly strife. No, the song says root for Georgetown because we’re a pretty sure bet to double whatever money you have to lie down – talk about a Washington sentiment.

But for better or for worse, the fight song is the fight song, and we’re pretty much stuck with it, whether we like it or not. It’s old, and everybody knows it, and for those reasons alone we should keep it. The stuff I said above being said, it ain’t that bad – and it’s one of our few longstanding traditions.

So this weekend, while you’re busy figuring out how to sneak beer past your R.A. (“I’m just coming back from the library with this large rectangular box of books in my backpack”) and dropping the 8:50 a.m. class you signed up for figuring it’s later than when you started high school, try to take a look at the fight song and learn the first verse or two.

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