Crimson and Blue Oarsmen Inspired First Organized Cheers in College Sport--Early Cornell "Cry" Called Irreverent
Feminine falsetto and masculine might of lung now join in a great volume of incoherent sound at the commands of gentlemen with flannel trousers and megaphones and the play wrights and the moving pictures consider the Rah-rah as the regular undergraduate greeting. Forty years ago these cheers were objects of interest to collegians, who now take them as part of the game, along with girls, flasks, and hard stone seats. In the CRIMSON of December 20, 1886, there appears an excerpt from the "Yale Daily News", commenting on cheers and cheering in the old days, and deploring some of the more immodest vociferations.
"The origin of college cheers may be traced to the boating contests of 25 years ago on Lake Quinsigamond between Harvard and Yale in the old-fashioned sixes The 'Rah! Rah! Rah!' was then first heard; that of Harvard rolled out with a full strong sound, while that of Yale was given sharply and defiantly. Although both cheers look the same in print, the similarity is more apparent than real. Anyone who has ever been present at an athletic contest between these rival universities will have readily observed the difference between the cheers.
"The 'Sky-rocket choir' of Princeton, 'Rah! Rah! Rah! Ss!-boom-ah!' probably ranks next in point of interest. It sprang up as the result of athletic enthusiasm, first venting itself over some triumph. It certainly is very original and striking.
"The cry of Cornell is doubtless noisiest and most irreverent of college cheers, still it has a certain vigor about it that is attractive. The original form was 'Cor-Cor-Cornell! I yell! Cornell!', but to this an addition is very frequently made to cause it to run 'Cor-Cor-Cornell! I yell like H---l! Cornell!' It is needless to add that the female members of the University prefer for it as it stood originally."