What’s a Fight Song?

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A fight song is a song associated with a sports team, used to gather crowds and express solidarity. They are found at all levels of competition and are easy to learn. Fight songs unite fans and can reference rivals. The term dates back to 1954 and is related to stadium anthems.

A fight song is a song associated with a specific sports team, sung by fans to express solidarity and get excited about sports matches. Fight songs are also used to gather crowds at sporting events, and the term is used by extension to refer to any song used to whip up or excite a crowd. While the term is American in origin, the practice can be seen around the world, with other countries using terms like “team song” or “sports anthem” to refer to a fight song.

Fight songs can be found at all levels of athletic competition, from Little League to professional teams. College athletic teams usually use a fight song associated with their institution as a whole, so the same fight song will be heard at basketball reunions, football games, and so on. Other fight songs are connected to a specific team, rather than a larger organization.

A typical fight song is very easy to learn, with basic rhyming lyrics and a simple beat. Spectators of a sport may spontaneously burst into song, or they may be led by cheerleaders and bands. Fight songs are also often played as teams take the field or score points so that fans can express their excitement. The team mascot may also be referenced in the fight song, with the team mascots dancing together when they hear the fight song being performed. Some fight songs reference specific rivals: The US Navy’s fight song, for example, includes a section about sinking the army.

According to Merriam-Webster, the use of the term “fight song” dates back to 1954, although athletic teams certainly had theme songs and anthems before this time. Fight songs serve to unite a crowd of fans across social, color, religious and class barriers, enabling them to express solidarity with their teams and with each other. Universities and colleges often use fight songs at student rallies, whether or not there are athletic teams, to encourage students to feel part of a larger whole.

The fight song is closely related to the stadium anthem. Stadium anthems are generic songs played over stadium speakers to excite the spectators. Many stadium anthems reference their home teams or include bits of fight songs alongside pop music, while others include pieces of iconic music that fans all recognize and associate with sporting events.

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