Them's fighting words

A father-daughter team writes a new fight song for Mizzou.
Thursday, December 27, 2007 | 9:35 p.m. CST; updated 6:13 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Clarification: "This Tiger Ain't Afraid," a new fight song written by Jeff Garwood and his daughter, Lydia, was meant as an additional song for the Tigers, not as a replacement for the current fight song, "Fight, Tiger."

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.


by 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 Afraid

by 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.

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“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.

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Dave Rotert December 28, 2007 | 7:50 p.m.

It must have been a REALLY slow news day for this story to make the first page. I appreciate the people's effort to write a song, but come on. It's not good. To believe that a institution of higher learning would use a song like this with double negatives and poor grammer is laughable. Good luck to the father and daughter, but don't give up your day job. The Tiger fight song is a classic. The new song has gotten more exposure than it deserves.

(Report Comment)
Kimberley crawford December 29, 2007 | 6:08 a.m.

The story may not be front page news but good work to the guy that wrote it - Mr Staudinger you really know how to make a story come to life!

(Report Comment)
Jeff Garwood December 29, 2007 | 3:25 p.m.

Anytime you present something new, you will have people that like it, and people that don't. You CAN'T please everyone."You ain't nothin' but a hound dog" is 'incorrect', but it's the FEEL that counts and made people like it. And Mr. Rotert, it's spelled 'grammar'."This Tiger Ain't Afraid" was NEVER intended as a replacement to the traditional Fight Song. But, it is chock full of Tiger Spirit, and there are scores of people that feel the same way, if you were to ask and look. I can provide a list! Thanks for listening, and GO TIGERS!!!

(Report Comment)
Harrison Sweazea December 30, 2007 | 2:41 p.m.

Mr. Garwood, I think you have a great song here. It doesn't have to replace the fight song, but it stands on its own merit as far as I'm concerned. It stands for more than just the Tigers. Don't let those with limited boundaries in their lives keep you from your dreams. I'm thinking you may have other good songs written, am I right?

(Report Comment)
Marv Riemer December 30, 2007 | 5:48 p.m.

Great spirit Mr. & Ms. Garwood, but that's just what we need: more rap and lousy grammar associated with a bastion on higher learning. NOT! Speaking of bad grammar; any chance of the athletes' comments not being printed verbatim? Some of them don't speak too well for college students.

(Report Comment)
Scott McCullough January 2, 2008 | 11:07 a.m.

Rap? What are you talking about, Marv? Apparently, you're unable to distinguish between musical genres. Or do you just automatically dismiss "Anything new I don't like" as "Rap"? For what it's worth, I think the song is great. I don't think the Garwoods or anyone else have proposed that it replace the traditional song. They're just wanting to add something that doesn't sound like it was composed in the 1930s.

PS to the first poster: It's "grammar," not "grammer." Nice try. Don't give up your day job!

(Report Comment)
Jenny Robben January 3, 2008 | 12:11 a.m.

What is the purpose of a fight song? Ask anybody and you'll get a handful of different answers. I believe it should provide an opportunity for MU fans to show their unified support for the Tigers. Open your mind and take a listen. Jeff and Lydia composed a great "call and response" song...imagine one side of a packed Faurot Field chanting, "Don't give up!" while the other counters with "Don't back down!" Or how about a little, "This Tiger Ain't Afraid." My three year-old daughter even caught the groove and is singing it.

By embracing this song, Mizzou (which I believe is a misspelling of Missouri AND is a great cheer), just adds another means to create positive energy during any sporting event. This song is applicable, it has a great hook, it's easy to remember, AND it's fun! The traditional MU fight song isn't going anywhere; it reflects tradition and pride. It is the foundation. Nothing wrong with adding another "cheer" is there?

I hope the powers at MU and the media keep a fire under this song. It was a beautiful gift. Keep writing Jeff and Lydia...Don't Give Up, Don't Back Down!!!

By the way Mr. Rotert, she's twelve, her daily job duties include learning about the world, herself and how she can make a contribution...hope she never quits.

(Report Comment)
Becca Leason March 9, 2009 | 10:14 a.m.

I love the song that you guys wrote. I am Lydias best Friend. She is an amazing singer/ song writer. I lOVE YOU LYDIA!

(Report Comment)

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