Monday, May 4, 2009

Beer, Beer for Old Ramsey High!

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that I was a cheerleader in high school and, boy, did I receive a lot of emails from friends wondering why they didn't know that about me.

For the record, it's not a part of my past that I am trying to hide, but it certainly doesn't come up much in conversation...possibly because I was a cheerleader 30 some odd years ago and a lot has happened since then. One of my friends wanted to know if I'd ever let my 12 year old daughter become a cheerleader. What the? You people have no idea what it was like to be a cheerleader at RHS. I assure you, my friends and I were not the stereotypical mean girl, bubble head hotties that are often depicted in today's teenage movies. Far from it.

And to answer your question, yes, I would let my daughter try out for cheerleading...if she so desired. But, I can also assure you that she has no desire. (Not to mention the school she attends does not have cheerleaders.) I never played on the high school field hockey team or the basketball team, but somehow I managed to become a contributing member of society regardless of my stint as co-captain of the cheerleaders. Imagine that.

I also mentioned in yesterday's blog that instead of singing our school's fight song, our squad often sang Springsteen songs on the bus rides to and from football and basketball games. And just like the Springsteen songs, I still know every word to the cheers. And, I might add, I can still do the jumps and moves. Pretty impressive for a girl who has no memory and no sports team background, huh?

So, let's review the words to my alma mater's fight song, shall we? Keep in mind I was a sophmore in high school when I made the varsity cheering squad, so I was, what...15 years old when I was shouting these words (cue up the band)....

Beer, beer for old Ramsey High
You bring the scotch and I'll bring the rye
Send those freshman out for gin
And don't let a sober sophmore in....

We never stagger, we never fall
We sober up on wood alcohol
When we yell, we yell like hell
for the glory of Ramsey High!

What the? I realize that mine is a generation of helicopter parents who hover over our children's every move. I think parents today are far too involved in their children's lives. But I wonder if our parents had any idea what we were singing back then? And if so, did they really think that was an appropriate cheer for 15 years olds to sing? It wasn't only the cheerleaders doing the singing. The cheerleaders lead the way, but the entire school band played along while the fans in the stands joined in the fun. We had an entire community singing about underage drinking and getting crazy ass drunk at school and nobody seemed to think that was odd. Or inappropriate. Not a single student, parent, coach or school official ever raised an eyebrow. Hmm.

Fast forward a few years. Ok, 30 years. If the kids at my daughter's school were to sing that song today, I'm pretty sure they'd all be suspended. I'm sure some parents would hold the school accountable. Others would take it a step further and say that the school was promoting underage drinking. And cussing. And god knows what else. The cheerleaders would be branded a bunch of boozers. The school would bring in experts on teenage drinking. The coach would be fired. Everybody who partook would have to do 25 hours of community service not to mention be forced to seek professional counseling. Parents would scramble to have the incident removed from their child's permanent record. Rumors would circulate about the kids involved not getting accepted to college on account of their despicable behavior.

Luckily, that never happened back in my day, back before the helicopter parent got heavily involved and started blowing everything out of proportion. Back before parents decided what sports their children would play, what courses their children would take, and what their children's high school transcript would look like.

We all managed to graduate high school, go on to college and become happy, healthy, successful adults despite the fact that we spent three years singing about getting hammered and nobody seemed to notice. But like I said, my cheerleading squad seemed to prefer Springsteen songs over the school's fight song, so maybe that's why we turned out ok.

Man, those were the days.


Anonymous said...

Bravo. We are way too involved with our kid's activities, what they eat, when they go to bed, what they are reading and who their friends may be and who their friends parents may be! Crazy!
My kids are mortified I was a cheerleader. My parents could have cared less. Those were the days. I think the only reason I turned out ok was because I was ignored growing up. I try my best to ignore my kids as often as possible but I must admit, it is hard.

Anonymous said...

So almost three years later, I google the fight song from my high school in North Tonawanda, NY, which is incidently "Beer, Beer for Old NT High," and see your blog! I graduated in 1973, but was only a cheerleader as a freshman. EVERY cheerleading squad, Frosh, JV, and Varsity knew the routine, and our band played as well. The spectators sang--the song rocked! You are right, this would never happen today, and you are right again, we graduated, got drunk, went to college, got drunk, graduated--worked a few not so serious jobs, got drunk, and then grew up and are somewhat productive adults. I just wanted to share

Anonymous said...

Ditto the previous comments. I too, graduated in 1971 singing this fight song, playing it in the band to the Notre Dame fight tune. Married a high school sweetheart, stayed in the town and raised two kids who also went to the school, but they never knew the joys of singing those lyrics to the beloved fight song, in public. We all became responsible,very productive adults, in fact our daughter is a teacher, who is now raising her own daughter, a student in the same district - and we'll teach her the fight song lyrics, too. There are so many things we need to protect our kids from these days, but silly football fight songs aren't one of them. Life should be so easy.

Anonymous said...

Just came across this. I went to Ramsey High (class of '76) and I remember singing the same song. Those of us in the band had a few more vulgar variants, but we won't discuss those here.

anaymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

For some strange reason this song has been running though my head for a while.
For me, it was, "Beer, beer for old Buchtel High*...".
I finally Googled it and landed here. The rest of the lyrics are nearly identical. Strange that a song would have been sung all over the U.S.
It was taught to me by a guy 2 years ahead of me who was in the marching band. Maybe only band players and cheerleaders knew it ?

*John R.Buchtel High School ,Akron,Ohio. 1960