Let’s face it – there is no crowd more superstitious than a sports crowd. It may be the fans, or it may be the players but if there is a tradition or something that they believe in strongly it will be just as important to the game as anything else. And there are many schools within the college basketball realm that hold to certain traditions as part of what they have to do to win, and be who they are.
It doesn’t matter if you value Vanderbilt’s old bench policy, if you are buying Indiana Hoosiers basketball tickets or smearing blue and white on your face for Duke. There is a deep sense of history and honor within the college basketball world. Some of the traditions are as old as the game itself. And for many teams, participating in the traditions is just as important too.
The University of Tennessee is home to many athletes and fans that hold dear to time honored traditions. One such practice they have at their college basketball games is to sing their ode to the Volunteer State. Even people who are not Volunteer fans can’t help but be taken back by the passion with which the fans sing and how it totally unites them all in the arena.
St. Joseph University in Philadelphia, PA has been around for 160 years, and their mascot the Hawk has been flapping its wings almost as long! At St. Joe they have a saying that “The Hawk will never die.” As a result, one of their pastimes is to make sure the Hawk flaps its wings non-stop at any game home or away. It works out nicely for the person in the Hawk suit as they get a full scholarship to school and some really buff arms by the end of the season.
In 1886 Kansas University science professor E.H.S. Baily retuned by train with his colleagues, and along with students yelled the rousing chant ‘rah, rah, Jayhawk, go KU!” Eventually that chant evolved into ‘Rock, chalk, Jayhawk, KU.” The change in the wording was in recognition of the rock chalk that can be found throughout the central and western parts of the state. Ever since then it has been a staple at Kansas University games.
Silent Night isn’t just a song people sing at Christmastime it is also a college basketball tradition at Taylor University. Taylor, a small school in Upland, Indiana, has a tradition where every Friday before finals, fans pack the gymnasium dressed in Halloween like costumes then sit silently in the bleachers, until the Taylor Trojans hit their tenth point. Once the tenth point is hit the Taylor crowd goes nuts, and they typically get so wild that the game has to actually be stopped.
John Brown University in Arkansas has a rare tradition that usually gets them in trouble. During the first men’s basketball game of the season fans bring rolls of toilet paper and when the first basket is scored the crowd throws all of its toilet paper onto the court. This is not only a lot of fun for the Golden Eagles but their mascot even likes to make toilet paper angles on the floor. However, it also usually brings the Eagles the first foul of the night.
Traditions can be a lot of fun. They are a way to get the fans in on the action, and they can boost the morale of the team. They also have a unique way of uniting everyone throughout the generations of the school making sure that even in an age of quickly advancing technology and an ever changing world there is still something from the past that is relevant today.