“Watermelon, watermelon, watermelon, lime. Look at the scoreboard and see who’s behind. You, you, you , you-Yeah, you.”
I was used to this kind of cheer while growing up in Kentucky. We talked all kinds of smack around basketball, and intelligent words weren’t required. Nowadays, cheers are mellower and might even spell real words like d-e-f-e-n-s-e.
However, one place in our nation still chants intensely personal cheers. The Library of Congress notes the homecoming tradition of the University of Montevallo as the oldest in the country, with their distinctive mantras passed down from the late 1800s. The entire college body divides into sides-either purple or gold, and remains that way forever. I once interviewed a lady for my Montevallo book, and asked her whether she was purple or gold. She replied, “I AM a purple.” She graduated from the university in 1956.
Imagine programming your GPS by pulling up the state of Alabama, and drawing a giant X on it. The exact center of the X marks the spot where these age-old cheers take center stage, culminating on one special night of the year called College Night. By the end of the night, you’ll find yourself hypnotically mumbling along, not quite sure what you’re saying, but joining in the frenzy nevertheless.
When you step into the arena on College Night, the world as you know it is left behind. You’re transported to a place like ancient Rome, where costumed lions roam the floor, and an urgent crowd jostles you towards a mosh pit. Confident grins surround you, looking inquisitively at your poker face. The arena is charged with excitement, anticipation, and nonsensical cheers which make sense to the other thousand people ringing cowbells and waving banners. Listen to the beginning of this video clip and see what I mean: YOUTUBE TRAILER
You feel like you’re on a different planet, albeit a happy one. Suddenly, half of the crowd gives a ‘thumbs up,’ and you are keenly aware that the decision has been made to go for the kill. Panicked, you scan the crowd for real gladiators and lions in this other worldly place where anything could happen. You’re relieved when the band strikes up the familiar Star Spangled Banner, indicating you’re still in America after all. The crowd stands at attention with one hand over the heart and the other behind the back, but something is odd. The hands behind the backs are signaling with peace signs.
The purple motion is the peace sign while the gold motion is the thumbs up. At least country comes first during the National Anthem…right before the color war. The last battle of College Night takes place on stage as each side vies for the best original play. Viewing two separate plays in one evening, judges gauge the best performance and decide whether a purple victory or gold victory will prevail. What’s it going to be this February-a PV or GV? This still doesn’t explain what “Moo Psi Moo” means. Visit the University of Montevallo website for more information on College Night! (Click Here)
With one PV daughter and another GV daughter, this event hits home for me! If you can’t make it to college night and want to experience this ‘Local Legacy’ at one of the top colleges in the South, check out my book (click here)