Since 2008, Tom Meeker ’56 has been teaching incoming freshmen the locomotive at the annual Pre-rade and step sing during orientation week. As a companion to W. Barksdale Maynard ’88’s That Was Then feature on Princeton’s favorite cheer, we asked Meeker for a few tips.
“The arm movement is like a piston, and when you’re leading a locomotive, the piston moves faster as the cheer moves faster. That’s the gist of what you’re trying to get across.”
“I emphasize to them that it is ‘sis-boom-ah’ — A-H — not ‘sis-boom-bah,’ and I will bet you that 90 percent of Princeton grads from before 2008 think it’s ‘sis-boom-bah.’ The ‘ah’ is from the expression of awe.”
“In the P-rade, as I go past the younger classes, there’ll be a locomotive cheer and they will all emphasize ‘ah.’ I’ve even gotten my class to do that. I had to teach them last year and again this year at our mini-reunion down in Florida. And man, I get an ‘ah’ out them — ‘sis-boom-AAHHH’ — just to let me know that they have retained what I have taught them.”