COLUMBIA — For Jeff Garwood and his daughter, Lydia, wearing black and gold was only the start of their expression of Tiger spirit. When the Tigers lost to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship after a long winning streak, the Garwoods thought their favorite team needed a morale boost.
So they came up with a new Tiger fight song, “This Tiger Ain’t Afraid,” intended to convey the important message of persistence in the face of adversity.
What do do you think?Does the Garwoods' song have a fighting chance? Add your comments at the end of this story.
FIGHT TIGERby Robert Karsch Fight, Tiger, fight for old Mizzou, Right behind you, everyone is with you. Break the line and follow down the field, And, you’ll be, on the top, upon the top. Fight, Tiger, you will always win, Proudly keep the colors flying skyward. In the end, we’ll win the victory, So Tiger, fight for Old Mizzou!
This Tiger Ain’t Afraidby Jeff and Lydia Garwood Don’t Give Up. Don’t Back Down. Don’t Give Up. Don’t Back Down. Ah, Can’t you see it in my face. Naah, Don’t try to put me in no cage. This tiger ain’t afraid. This tiger ain’t afraid. Don’t Give Up. Don’t Back Down. Don’t Give Up. Don’t Back Down. Ah Can’t you hear me when I sing. Naah, Don’t try to put me in no cage. This tiger ain’t afraid. This tiger ain’t afraid. Don’t Give Up. Don’t Back Down. Don’t Give Up. Don’t Back Down. Ah, as its written on the page. Naah, Don’t try to put me in no cage. This tiger ain’t afraid. This tiger ain’t afraid . Don’t Give Up. Don’t Back Down. Don’t Give Up. Don’t Back Down. Don’t Give Up. Don’t Back Down. Don’t Give Up. Don’t Back Down. Don’t Give Up. Don’t Back Down.
“I had something that happened in my life that made me say ‘don’t give up, don’t back down.’” Garwood said. “And that’s the start of the song.”
He enlisted the help of Lydia, 12, while she was doing her homework. The deal was they would write one line of lyrics after every page of homework she completed.
Garwood, 46, knew that he was onto something good when he showed a demo of the song to Richard King, owner of The Blue Note. Garwood was excited that King took the time to listen. King, who is out of town for the holidays, could not be reached for comment.
“He was the first person we sent it to,” Garwood said. “He told us that this was good, and that is what really got the ball moving along.”
Kevin Walsh, owner of Kevin’s World on Ninth Street and a friend of King, said he was interested and surprised when he heard the song. He even played it in his shop for customers to hear. Garwood is a regular customer of Kevin’s World.
“I liked the sound of it, but I’m not much of an expert on sports chants,” Walsh said. “Anything that a father does with his daughter is special.”
Garwood got some exposure for the fight song when he, his daughter and 20 strong singers sang on Wednesday on KOMU’s “Pepper and Friends.”
“We had a blast,” Garwood said. “It was cool to have all the friends that were Tigers fans, music fans and musicians who came in and put their stamp on it.”
Lydia, who sings a solo in the song, found it intimidating in front of a television camera.
“It was cool, but it was scarier because If I messed up nobody could back me up,” she said.
Garwood felt a supportive push when he bumped into Chase Daniel, quarterback for Mizzou, who agreed to listen to the recording. Daniel even signed a flier that Garwood hung around campus to advertise the song.
Doug Crews, past president of the MU Alumni Association and executive director of the Missouri Press Association, heard the song when the Missourian played it for him on Thursday night. He said its lyrics seemed a little too hip for his tastes.
“I’m a real traditionalist,” said Crews. “Fight songs are historic.”
Nevertheless, Garwood hopes that with the recent publicity, his fight song might get some play in Dallas when the Tigers face Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl.
“This could very well give this song the exposure it needs and reach the fans,” he said.