Saturday, November 28, 2009

Why an Axe?

E just posed this question to me:  "Why does Stanford use an axe for the helmet sticker? That seems anti-tree".

The Stanford Axe  - an excerpt on it's history:


Part I

by Dink Templeton, Stanford '18
Understood to be figurative, the thousands of throats which hurl it across the field give ample assurance that a good bloody axe is just what they would choose as a weapon with which to wipe up the field and satisfy their feelings.

In my own college days I knew a lad with a flair for the dramatic who considered that he had been insulted by a fellow who was too big for him even to think of socking on the nose. So he went to him, stated that he had been insulted, and challenged him to a duel, just as they do in the storybooks. Big Boy was taken aback for an instant, for he know nought of duels, nor had he ever played around with pistols or foils. It was a situation which was both gravely serious and ludicrously funny to him.

After a slight pause he said, "I don't know much about this dual business. But as I understand it, as the challenged party, I have the right to choose the weapons. Is that not so?"

"That is your privilege, sir," return our hero.

"Well then, I choose axes," was the instant reply.

Challenger, overcome by abject horror, recoiled. The instant thought of this big bully beating down his guard by superior strength until he started raining blows upon his unprotected skull and battering it to a bloody pulp was too much for him. Covering his face with his hands, he turned and faded from the delighted circle of students who were the witnesses.

To him, as to all the rest of us, the axe was the most terrible of weapons. Even as an implement of domestic utility, we think of the axe, not as the great boon to the pioneers of old who forced back our frontiers with it, nor even as the instrument for labor torture with which we accomplished to tedious chore of chopping wood and kindling, but rather as the means for stopping the squawks of excited chickens by one clean blow which severed the head and covered the ground with spurting blood.

And the stark naked truth of the matter is simply this: the axe is the symbol which most accurately describes the subconscious feelings of those loyal to Stanford and to California.

It was one of the keenest minds ever produced at Stanford that reached out and put its finger unerringly on this feeling, and came through with the famous yell, "Give 'em the Axe!" Will Irwin, ex-'98, famous as an author and revered at Stanford as a cherished tradition, gave birth to that renowned yell in 1896, just five years after Stanford first opened her doors. He includes Chris Bradley as co-author. It sprang from the two naturally and spontaneously, fitting to the occasion, and expressing the feelings of limited warfare so exactly that it was destined to become the most lasting of all their works.

"Give 'em the axe, the axe, the axe!
Give 'em the axe, the axe, the axe!
Give 'em the axe, give 'em the axe, give 'em the axe,


"Right in the neck, the neck, the neck!
Right in the neck, the neck, the neck!
Right in the neck, right in the neck, right in the neck!


From the very start, that new yell, with the authors as yell-leaders, was a terrific success. It exactly expressed the feelings of the Farm toward those superior beings across the Bay.

And even though nothing else had actively occurred as a consequence, it would still have come down through these thirty-five years as the greatest of all Stanford battle cries.

But plenty else did happen, and as a direct consequence. What a chain of historic Stanford-California events, establishing tradition, building up and maintaining the keen rivalry between these two great universities, may be traced to that one short yell.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

THE Big Game

Sending Dollie love out to Stanford!!

Event: The 112th Big Game

Time: Saturday, November 21, 2009 6:00pm

Ladies and gentlemen of the Cardinal faithful,

The day approaches again when Stanford and California meet on the field in Palo Alto to contest the Axe. Neither the win-loss records of both teams or the opinions of pundits hold sway in the clash of eternal gridiron rivals, for the stories of Big Games are rife with upsets and shockers from both sides.

As you may have seen from the Stanford Alumni Association emails, we have changed our game-watching location to The Tavern, located at 922 W 12th St. in downtown Austin. Please note that although kickoff is at 6:30PM, we're asking you to show up a bit earlier because parking may become very scarce due to the high volume of UT fans who come to the Tavern (their kickoff is at 7PM; we'll have a head start).

Please make an effort t o come early enough to grab parking! We don't want you to miss out on any of the game due to parking issues.

If the season comes down to one game, this is that game. Wear Cardinal red, and bring your family and your friends (Stanford-affiliated or otherwise) to see what the resurgent Cardinal will bring to the field against a weakened but hungry Golden Bear squad.

Beat Cal!

When: 6PM (kickoff at 6:30PM), Saturday, Nov. 21st, 2009

Where: The Tavern, 922 W 12th St., Austin, Texas 78703