"God sometimes does His work with gentle drizzle, not storms. Drip. Drip. Drip." - John Newton (Amazing Grace)
Question #61788 posted on 02/10/2011 1:38 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Have the words to the BYU fight song changed, or are we all singing the song incorrectly? The fans sing "we", but the screen at the games tells us all to sing "you." I would like to know if the song has been changed. If so, why? Aren't we all part of the team?

Thank you,

Cougar Fan

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The lyrics are presented at sporting events in the following way:

Rise all loyal cougars and hurl your challenge to the foe.
You will fight, day or night, rain or snow.
Loyal, strong, and true
Wear the white and blue.
While we sing, get set to spring.
Come on Cougars it's up to you. Oh!

CHORUS:

Rise and shout, the Cougars are out
along the trail to fame and glory.
Rise and shout, our cheers will ring out
As you unfold your vict'ry story.

On you go to vanquish the foe for Alma Mater's sons and daughters.
As we join in song, in praise of you, our faith is strong.
We'll raise our colors high in the blue
And cheer our Cougars of BYU.

A:

Dear Cougar Fan,

I have had that song memorized since I was five years old and I have always sung "we will fight, day or night." When I got to the BYU and started paying attention to the jumbotron during games, I was blown away. The words are the same now as they were in 1990 when I went to my first BYU football game, but I was taught incorrectly and have perpetuated that ever since.

For what it's worth, I think the lyrics as they are are entirely appropriate. Sure, in some nebulous sense, we are "part of the team" but we are not the ones "hurl[ing] [our] challenge to the foe." We are the ones who are singing while the team gets "set to spring." We are the ones singing and cheering, the team is the one springing and unfolding. We are praising, Jake Heaps is vanquishing the foe and unfolding the victr'y story.

Besides, the pronouns are all messed up if we keep singing about how we are going to win football games. The blue is commands to the team on the field, the tan is our part of the agreement. It's a very well-organized song. Obsoive:

Rise all loyal cougars and hurl your challenge to the foe.
You will fight, day or night, rain or snow.
Loyal, strong, and true
Wear the white and blue.

While we sing, get set to spring.
Come on Cougars it's up to you. Oh!

CHORUS:

Rise and shout, the Cougars are out
along the trail to fame and glory.
Rise and shout, our cheers will ring out
As you unfold your vict'ry story.
On you go to vanquish the foe for Alma Mater's sons and daughters.

As we join in song, in praise of you, our faith is strong.
We'll raise our colors high in the blue
And cheer our Cougars of BYU.

I hope that makes sense. I am prognosticating that someone will say, "We're all Cougars here, right?" and to that I say, "Yes, but we are not all Cougar football players. When you get on the team, someone can sing the fight song about you. Until then, you are in a support role."

Dr. Smeed

A:

Dear Cougar Fan,

I would say that this is an example of the I-don't-know-the-words-but-want-to-sing-anyway phenomenon I often experience in my life. Seriously, I never know the words. I probably interchange the words "you" and "we" all the time during the fight song because I can't remember the right one and I also can't decide which one seems to make more sense. But I agree with you. I like "we" because I like feeling like I'm part of the team, even if my part only involves sitting in the stands and hopelessly trying to remember the fight song.

-The Great Deflector 

A:

Dear Cougar Fan,

I own a hard copy of the fight song sheet music that was printed in 1975. The only difference between the version you typed out and my copy was that mine says "stalwart men and true" instead of "loyal, strong, and true" (yeah, it's that old). All iterations of "you" and "we" are the same as your version, though. Unless the fight song has changed and then changed back, it seems that that's the way it's been for a long time, if not since the song was first written.

And I'm with you on feeling weird about singing "you" instead of "we." The fight song isn't supposed to focus on the distinctions between us (the fans) and them (the players)—we're all Cougars here, right?

- Eirene

A:

Dear Dr. Smeed,

Oh yeah? Well, I prognosticated that someone would say that even before you "did!" So...there. Yeah.

- Eirene again

A:

Dear Eirene,

I knew you'd say that . . . or rather we knew we would say that. We're all Eirene . . . er, Cougars . . . er, something. 

Dr. Smeed

A:

Dear Dr. Smeed,

Yeah, being a Cougar is pretty much like being part of the Borg. It's in the fine print of the Honor Code. Prepare to be assimilated.

- Eirene