How the Mirror Lake jump came to be
Published: Thursday, November 17, 2005
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 01:06
In 1990, members of the marching band agreed not to participate in the phantom band because most of the blame for the problems of the year before fell on them, Woods said.
According to a Nov. 21, 1990 Lantern article, some band members resisted the agreement and decided to lead the phantom band again. The parade ended with a rally outside of Pomerene Hall near Mirror Lake. Reports within the folklore archives describe students jumping in Mirror Lake in 1991 and refer to 1990 as the earliest year it occurred.
In the Lantern article, Brooke Roesle, a freshman at the time, said that Woods showed up at the rally and began yelling at the band members. Everyone ran away from the scene and some students decided to jump into Mirror Lake, she said.
Mike Boone, a 1994 OSU graduate, who currently lives in South Carolina, was a freshman in 1990 and participated in the infamous phantom band parade and remembers the event a little bit differently.
"I wasn't real aware of the tradition. My roommates informed me about it," Boone said.
Back then the day was not set in stone - it either happened on a Wednesday or a Thursday, he said.
Roughly 10 members of the OSU marching band, dressed in OSU spirit wear, showed up outside Taylor Tower and began playing music, he said. The band gathered students from north campus and proceeded to lead them toward the Oval. The band would play fight songs and students would sing along if they knew the words. Between songs students would vocalize their distaste for "the team up north" by singing and chanting, Boone said.
As the students walked they would throw toilet paper in trees and on other overhangs marking their path.
"(The toilet paper) would last a couple of weeks," Boone said.
When Boone and his group got to the east end of the Oval they met up with the south campus band. Boone said he cannot remember whether there was a band coming from west campus. From there the parade went to Mirror Lake and the band stood around the lake while about 20-30 students jumped in fully clothed, Boone said.
Boone himself did not jump into the lake that year.
"I had one nice pair of shoes and I was wearing them," he said. "I wasn't going to trash them."
Boone does not recall Woods showing up at the event.
The phantom band returned in 1991 and once again led the students of OSU to Mirror Lake and a dip in its waters. This caused the university to take action. In Boone's junior year the university backed a parade that was lead by the OSU Marching Band and ended in front of Ohio Stadium, Boone said.
This did not deter him and his friends from jumping into the lake, however.
"(The lake is) a nice place to cap it off," he said.
"I can't remember if the band played my senior year," Boone said.
It did not matter. He and his friends jumped anyway.
As the decade continued, the band took a back seat to the Mirror Lake jump.
Today students jump in larger numbers than ever before. Dan Bozich, a senior during last year's jump, said it best.
"This is what happens when classes drive you crazy."