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Wake Forest Bans Alma Mater at End of Sporting Events

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Is a post-game Wake Forest tradition in jeopardy?

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Dear Old Wake Forest,

According to sources at Wake Forest University, the Spirit of the Old Gold and Black athletic band ("SOTOGAB") has been instructed to no longer play the Wake Forest Alma Mater at the end of athletic contests. Win or lose, the playing of "Dear Old Wake Forest" is a time-honored tradition as students, athletes, and alumni alike join arms to sway back and forth singing along to the well-known and century-old song.

Thine is a noble name

Written by George Paschal of the class of 1892 and based on a Thuringian folk song, the Wake Forest alma mater represents an opportunity for all members of the Wake Forest community to gather together after a sporting event and express passion and gratitude for the university that we all represent. This tradition dates back decades and serves as a reminder that regardless of the results on the gridiron, the soccer field, or the basketball court we are all proud members of a larger tight-knit Wake Forest community.

Thine is a glorious fame

The singing of the alma mater has been embraced by not only those attending the games, but the athletes themselves. Following each football game the entire squad walks over in front of the SOTOGAB, raises their helmets with one hand, and sways along as the band plays the alma mater. On the heels of critical wins, crushing losses, dominant performances, and crippling defeats the team consistently turns out to hear and sing the alma mater together. Even on the road, opposing stadiums provide the band the opportunity to play Dear Old Wake Forest and frequently opposing teams and fans pause to observe the Wake Forest fan base stand as one singing the alma mater.

Constant and true

Noted on the band's website as a tradition that helps "makes SOTOGAB unique," the alma mater serves a higher purpose than simply being a tune which should be haphazardly discarded in the name of a better environment. Dear Old Wake Forest embodies the spirit of Wake Forest and helps contribute to a game day environment unique to Wake Forest as a whole. Indeed, to lose traditions like the playing of the alma mater would serve as a grave injustice to the very character of what Wake Forest stands for: community and friendship.

We give thee of our praise

Members of the Wake Forest community have already begun grassroots campaigns to inform others about the decision to bar the post-game playing of Dear Old Wake Forest. A Facebook group called "Save Dear Old Wake Forest" popped up early Saturday morning and within an hour had over 200 members, including both current and former students interested in protecting this Wake Forest tradition.

Adore thine ancient days

I believe I speak for not only myself, but the BSD staff in general, when I state that the playing of the alma mater at the end of sporting events wholly contributes to a positive game day environment and it would be a shame to lose a tradition merely so a pop song can be played over the loud speakers. These types of traditions, specific to Wake Forest in their own special way, are part of the fibers of a vibrant community.

Sing thee our humble lays

In honor of the alma mater, Wake Forest fans interested in preserving this tradition should indeed "sing thee our humble lays" and reach out to Wake Forest to learn more about the decision to prevent SOTOGAB from performing Dear Old Wake Forest. In the spirit of the Wake Forest community this is not about attacking one another over their thoughts on the matter, yet an opportunity for growth and understanding between students, alumni, and administrators in an effort to preserve an important tradition for a university we all love....

Mother So Dear.