Tom Meeker ’56 on teaching the locomotive cheer

Tom Meeker ’56 teaches the locomotive in 2012.
Tom Meeker ’56 teaches the locomotive in 2012.
Sameer A. Khan

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.”

WATCH: Video of Meeker’s Pre-rade presentation