Of all the things that work well together in the sports world, football and fight songs are essentially the medium’s peanut butter and jelly.
From high schools to the college ranks, nothing excites a crowd more than a rousing rendition the fight song.
The high notes of trumpets, mixed with the brassy bass of trombones and tubas can lift any crowd – and possibly even the players themselves – into a higher sense of spirit. All of it complete with the clapping of hand and the high pitched, “woohoos” that surely follow.
Play “Texas Fight” or the “Aggie War Hymn” in any Central Texas barbecue joint or bar, and you’ll likely see a social experiment play out.
That’s what makes high school and college football so great. The atmosphere, the music, the setting.
But at what point does a fight song do more harm than good?
I can understand Hays CISD’s inquisition into whether the song needs to be removed. Recent events, such as the removal of the Confederate Flag in South Carolina, have pushed forward the country’s conversation about what is politically correct.
Some people feel that Hays High’s fight song, “Dixie,” has outlasted its tenure – that the song’s roots hearken back to a painful time in our country’s history. They feel the school needs to make the change.
Others believe that the song isn’t anything more than school spirit, and that it should stay.
I’m of the opinion that “Dixie” needs to go. I believe Hays High should at least consider the notion of removing “Dixie” as its fight song.
I haven’t always held such beliefs. As a former member of the Hays Rebel band, playing “Dixie” after touchdowns once instilled a sense of pride. The young, impressionable youth I was went with the crowd. I wanted to fit in with school spirit, and at the time, it made sense and was fun.
But as I’ve grown (somewhat) older and (moderately) wiser, I’ve come to realize that the song doesn’t hold the same weight.
It’s added to the fact that Hays High is practically the only school in Texas that still uses it.
Midland Lee High stopped playing “Dixie” in 2006. Austin Travis High ended their relationship with the song in 2012.
Both schools received tremendous backlash from the public, which led to its removal.
The overriding theme is that the song is just too polarizing. Too many people feel the song doesn’t fit within today’s society.
I’m of the same opinion. Perhaps in the past the song did not garner such strong reactions.
Such is not the case anymore. Too many people feel it’s morally wrong for a school to play a song that has ties to a Blackface Minstrel.
But should Hays High remove the Rebel as its mascot?
I’d have to balk at that proposition.
In my mind, the idea of a “rebel” shouldn’t always be tied to Civil War America.
Our country was founded on the idea of rebellion. Many of our country’s famous people, both political and social, were rebels themselves.
Entertainment has also changed the way we see Rebels as well. I’d be totally for Hays High using the Rebel Alliance crest from Star Wars, provided the school somehow managed to skirt the copyright laws that go with it.
And while Jack C. Hays never participated in the Civil War – he was a Texas Ranger – changing the name to Rangers just doesn’t flow.
The Hays Rangers doesn’t have a ring to it. Sorry, folks.
Of course, any change that could occur will take time. If something does change, I hope the district at least allows for public input.
Ultimately, the times, they are a changing. Hays CISD should follow suit.