After seeing Bud's post about the War Chant and the Braves, I thought that I would share some personal insight into the beginning of this Great Seminole tradition. These are the facts that I know as I was there, when it really was started in the stands of Doak Campbell Stadium, not in Atlanta or KC or for any other sports franchise. I wrote this on an airplane after being exposed to another story on the Web with a slightly twisted and second hand account of the facts. I have many college buddies that can verify the facts if anyone really cares to challenge them.It was a sunny Saturday afternoon in 1983 and we were doing what college kids love best to do, going to a football game. It did not seem much different than any other Saturday, except it was a day game and we used to go to a lot of night games at Florida State University back then, so I guess that was one thing that made it stand out immediately. We did our pre-game ritual of tailgating before the game with plenty of beer flowing. As usual we also were loading up on our take-in bags that helped keep the cocktails going during game time. We were students just having a good time but we were also Theta Chi’s a fraternity known for their partying as well as some of more colorful characters.
One of those colorful characters was Rob "Sweat" Hill. A bigger guy who grew up in Palm Beach County and loved his country music. Everybody who knew Rob new he liked to sing, but no one knew he would create music that would be so catchy that it would spread like a wildfire. Well maybe it took a little more fanning of the flame but eventually it was a wildfire.
As a fraternity we got our student tickets in a block so we could all sit together. Rob was in one of the first rows of Theta Chi’s at the game I was actually in the row directly behind him and a few seats over. I really do not remember the opponent, but the game became a memorable one because of what Rob did not because of the game. The band who was just to the left of us and down a few rows was just playing a drum beat similar to one you may hear at a real Indian gathering. Bum… Bum… Bum.. Bum.. Bum.. Bum.. it was going in a repetitive manner. Not sure if it was the alcohol kicking in or Rob’s need to sing but he started to do a more traditional singing of an Indian war chant oh..ohh…ohh….oh…oh….ohhhhh. with some hya.. hyas… thrown in for authenticity. He continued this for a while getting some strange stares from the other fans around us. We of course thought it was funny so some of the other guys in his row got into the spirit and started to sing along. After a little while I and a few of the other guys in my row jumped in as well. Since we did not have the same melodic capabilities of Rob or maybe we had a little too much to drink our tone was not nearly as good and it was more of a droning effect. The game ended but we found something fun to do to cheer our team on and the chop allowed us to continue enjoying our drinks while we did it. The next few games we continued to do this new War Chant that Rob had created. By the end of the season our whole Fraternity was doing it and despite the strange looks and even mocking by other fraternities we enjoyed our new found chant during the games and we even got a few non-Theta Chi’s to join in.
The following year the season was about to begin. Many of the Theta Chi’s had joined Scalphunters an FSU student booster group made up of a cross section of students to promote the Seminole’s spirit on campus. I was a Scalphunter as well. It came up in a meeting that we should do the Theta Chi War Chant during the game to promote our Seminole spirit. At the first game we began doing the War Chant in the Scalphunter block. Of course the Theta Chi block was still doing it in full force. With two groups doing it in slightly different parts of the stadium it started to catch on much like the "Wave" but a lot slower since it actually required fans to participate actively for a while not a fleeting standing that was over quickly. Before we knew it the War Chant was growing.
Just before the next game a group of Cheerleaders came by our Fraternity House on a Friday we were having our usual Deck Party and they came up to us and asked us to teach them the War Chant. After we picked ourselves up off the floor from laughing we taught them what we feel had to be one of the easiest cheers to learn a simple droning Indian tone and tomahawk chop hand motion. They left satisfied and we just kept laughing about it. Charlie Barnes esteemed Booster writes a slightly different variation of the Scalphunter’s involvement than I remember, but I do not doubt that there is some validity to his facts about it getting spread even greater at a Pep Rally. However, one fact that has to be corrected is that it was changed from the original War Chant done by the Theta Chi’s as it has not changed at all from the first day we started doing it except for the band adding music to the whole chant. Regardless it was spreading and now spreading fast in that 1984 season. Before the end of the season the entire Student body was into the "War Chant" and the Seminoles had an identity that annoyed other teams and even Coach Bowden for a while. He asked the fans to only to it when the Defense was playing because it was becoming so disruptive to his offensive players. We obliged as whatever Coach Bowden wanted we would most assuredly grant him his request.
In 1985 I had graduated and I was watching the first Home Game of the season on Television at a Seminole Booster Bar. And all of the sudden I heard the "War Chant" and it was loud, louder than I ever remembered it. And I am watching the TV closely and everyone is doing the "War Chant" it was AMAZING!! I feel honored to have been one of the first to do the "War Chant" but I feel even more lucky than anything to have been sitting near Rob "Sweat" Hill who created a Seminole Tradition that will long out live all of us. Rob should be awarded a special tribute at a Seminole game to thank him for his achievement even if it was just a great idea by a bunch of silly college kid. And that my friends is the REST OF THE STORY.