Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sportscaster reflects on "We are ... Marshall" chant

       Editor’s Note: I recently received the following comments written in response to one of my blog entries about the “We Are Marshall!” chant which is featured prominently in the movie. No such chant existed at the time of the 1970 plane crash. Even so, the chant is not pure fantasy. It is a real chant, so I stand corrected.

       This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that the “We Are Marshall” chant is a myth. The truth is that the chant came several years after the crash.
       That chant didn’t start until the mid-1980s at Fairfield Stadium. Then it really took off in 1991. The scoreboard at the new stadium would show flashing arrows which prompted each side as to which part of the chant to shout.
       The unfortunate thing is that Warner Brothers based its marketing of the movie on the premise of “This is a true story.” But because of the other “Hollywood minutes” in the film, including the game-winning touchdown (which didn’t happen that way in the actual Xavier-Marshall game), the movie should have been promoted as “based on a true story.”
       The “We Are Marshall” chant when bellowed with such fervor by Thundering Herd fans, is part of what MU is all about. You, me, the 1970 team, the Young Thundering Herd, the fans—we are all Marshall University.
       The movie scene (where students congregate in front of an on-campus administration building) is historically incorrect. But that scene did accurately portray the emotions and feelings in 1971 that Marshall should continue to play football and never forget about those who lost their lives.
       It was a long time ago and I was there in the mid-to-late 1970s for the second wave of "why pour money into a program that can never win?" Outside the MU football program, more people were beginning to agree with that line of thinking.
       But not at Marshall.
       And that was because "We are … Marshall!"

-Woody Woodrum

Woody Woodrum is the co-host for Insider Sportsline, a daily sports talk radio show on WRVC Super Talk 94.1 FM/930 AM in Huntington, West Virginia. He is also senior editor for Herd Insider.

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