The Marching Band Refused to Yield: The true story of the time Ohio University’s alumni band fought the Miami of Ohio football team
By JOE DONATELLI
Available on Amazon
I still remember where I was the first time I heard the story. I was a freshman sports reporter working for Ohio University’s independent student newspaper, The Post. Back then The Post was located on the first floor of the old Baker Center, on the side of the building nearest Court Street. All of those students in jean shorts and flannels on the side of the building getting a jumpstart on lung cancer—that was us.
Inside the first set of doors on the left side of the building, next to the wheelchair entrance, was The Post editorial office, lounge, dark room and newsroom. Those artificially-lit green and white rooms launched many great journalism careers and possibly several cases of rickets. In the newsroom, sitting at a computer that today has the processing power of a decent toaster, my editor Rachael Larimore (nee Brandon) explained the Ohio University-Miami of Ohio sports rivalry.
“Miami is our biggest rival,” Rachael said. “Our alumni band beat up their football team a few years ago. We don’t like them. Now they really don’t like us.”
Since then, I’ve heard a few variations of that story. Sometimes it’s the Ohio University Marching 110 that fights the Miami football team. Sometimes a Miami coach and a member of the alumni band get into a fistfight. Sometimes a member of the alumni band steals the football from the Miami team and runs away. The one consistent facet of the story is that it’s always repeated by alumni who are not ashamed to be associated with a university whose alumni band stepped to Division-I football players.
Last fall my wife and I returned to Athens for a semester, and many of the old stories were retold over beers with friends at Jackie O’s, Lucky’s and Tony’s. To mark its 20th anniversary, I decided to write about the alumni band-Miami football fight for this website. I searched for information online and found little. I emailed a few members of the alumni band who were on the field that day, and they asked me to hold off on the story. As implausible as it seemed to me, they didn’t want to get the current band in trouble because, as I learned, bad blood between Miami and the Marching 110 runs deep. Miami, I learned, has a history of banning the Ohio Marching 110 from its football stadium. I complied. The Ohio-Miami game passed, and there went my hook. Like a good sports fan raised in Cleveland, I decided to wait until next year.
During the off-season I talked to some more band members. I also found news reports from the incident. I convinced myself and others that this was a story that needed to be told, not because it’s interesting when a band fights a football team (it is), but because the full story of what happened during halftime of Ohio’s 1992 homecoming is one that will make any Bobcat–or anyone who has ever marched in a good marching band–proud.
“The Marching Band Refused to Yield” can be purchased and read online or downloaded to your Kindle, PC, MAC, tablets or smartphones (click that link to find out how to get the story on your device) for just $0.99 from October 20-27. Then the price goes up.
The Marching Band Refused to Yield is now available on Amazon.
“I was a senior in high school and in the crowd when this happened. I later went on to march in the 110 and I can say without a doubt that those were some of the best days of my life! This story does a great job describing the events that took place that day. I now know most of the OU people interviewed and I must say I would have done the same thing as either a student or alumni.” – Andy
“Proud to have been there that day, proud to have bought Kindle version of e-book. What a great day that was. Hi-frickin O.” – Ronald
“I was here for that game, but it’s nice to hear from some of the people involved. It would have been nice if any of the Miami jerks would have added anything, but that’s them living up to their perception. Muck Fiami! OU, Oh yeah!” – Todd
“The Marching Band Refused to Yield” is Amazon’s No. 1 e-book about military marches, which is the category I had to list this book under because there was no plain Marching Band category.