Sports Fan Traditions
April 8, 2005 10:16 PM   Subscribe

Tonight I went with fellow Red Sox fans to see the new film "Fever Pitch", based on Nick Hornby’s book - altered to focus on a Boston fan’s obsession with the local baseball team. Being a "native son" myself, and aware of the fan specific traditions – such as the recent Fenway Park "group-sing-along" of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" at the bottom of the 7th. /top of the 8th. (not to mention “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”, etc.), what other traditions (old, or new) have been established for any and all sports teams/events here in the U.S.A. and elsewhere in the world?
posted by ericb to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Milwaukee Brewer's fans sob quietly into there beers usually within the first few games of the season. Except this season (3-0!).

In addition, we have weiner races.
posted by drezdn at 10:50 PM on April 8, 2005

I miss the days of throwing corn tortillas like frisbees at halftime during the annual UCSB-UNLV grudge match. On a related note, I was shocked that people in other countries do not sing "Hey Hey Goodbye" when a player is fouled out of a game.
posted by cali at 11:03 PM on April 8, 2005

Random list:
  • The St. Paul Saints have a pig bring baseballs out to the umpire (Pig's Eye was the original name of St. Paul) and also play Shaft, as sung by Sammy Davis, Jr., either as their rally song, or during the 7th inning stretch (I forget which).
  • Dartmouth fans have been throwing tennis balls on the ice after the first Dartmouth goal when they're playing Princeton since 1992. I'm guessing there are a lot of traditions like this in the Ivy League.
  • There's also the throwing of hats onto the ice when a player scores a hat trick, and something about an octopus as well (having to do with the fact that it originally took eight playoff wins to win the Stanley Cup).
  • There's the playing of New York, New York at Yankee Stadium after Yankees games.
  • "Hey Hey Hey Goodbye" is still played at many baseball stadiums when a pitcher is replaced
  • Many football mascots match the score in pushups whenever their team scores
  • Since Harry Carey passed away, the Cubs have established a tradition of having celebrity guests sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch
  • I don't remember the team, but I saw it on TV, so it must be true. There's a high school football team that has its seniors pick something special to them to burn on the field at the end of the season. Lucky socks or what have you.

    That's all I can think of now. I'll check back if I think of more.

  • posted by hootch at 11:36 PM on April 8, 2005

    I can't believe drezdn mentioned the Brewers without mentioning Bernie the Brewer going down the slide after every homerun. :)
    posted by hootch at 11:53 PM on April 8, 2005

    Sort of similar to "Sweet Caroline," the Baltimore Orioles sing John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" instead of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" since the mid 70s.

    The Mariners do "Louie Louie" right after "Take Me Out..." After home runs they used to shoot a cannon off of a sad looking ship beyond the centerfield fence, the USS Mariner.
    posted by milkrate at 12:17 AM on April 9, 2005

    Where to begin? Team songs: 'You'll Never Walk Alone' (Liverpool FC); 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles' (Michael JacksonWest Ham Utd); 'Z-Cars' (Everton's walk-out-onto-the pitch music) etc.

    Oh, French rugby fans trying to smuggle cockerels into international matches. But this is an encyclopaedic subject.
    posted by holgate at 12:48 AM on April 9, 2005

    Wait a minute, Fever Pitch has been remade and is now about the Red Sox! Didn't know that, I don't imagine it'll get a release in this part of the world though.

    Anyway back on topic. In my experience you rarely see American Sports fans singing but it's a big tradition in the UK and Ireland at least. There's singing at every Premiership game and rugby teams would have songs too.
    • Tottenham Hotspur: Battle Hymn of the Republic (kinda)
    • England Rugby: Swing Low Sweet Chariot
    • Munster Rugby: Fields of Athenry
    • Wales Rugby: Bread of Heaven

    posted by daveirl at 2:37 AM on April 9, 2005

    Philadelphia sports fans boo Santa Claus, throw snowballs whenever possible (including former mayor/current PA governor Ed Rendell), and cheer when opposing players are injured and must leave the playing field on a stretcher.
    posted by fixedgear at 3:03 AM on April 9, 2005

    Penn fans throw toast on the field after the 3rd quarter in a football game - we even have a toast zamboni to clean it all up.
    posted by moooshy at 3:14 AM on April 9, 2005

    There's the playing of New York, New York at Yankee Stadium after Yankees games.

    The Frank Sinatra version after a victory, the Liza Minelli version after a loss.

    The other Yankee tradition I like is "roll call" - At the start of the first inning, a group of regulars in the bleachers will chant each players' name until they give a quick wave.

    As an American who also loves English football, I wish we had more singing in American sports. It's truly an amazing atmosphere. And speaking of Fever Pitch, there was a letter in Boston's daily freebie paper from one "Thierry Henry" (Arsenal striker) telling people to be sure to read the book and see the Colin Firth movie too. A joke I'm sure, but the book will resonate with any sports fan, even if they're not into soccer.
    posted by jalexei at 3:48 AM on April 9, 2005

    Not sure if this is just a University of Arizona Mens' Basketball thing, but we shout "Nice shot, buddy!" when an opposing player misses their first free throw of two.
    posted by joshuaconner at 4:26 AM on April 9, 2005

    At Madison Square Garden in the 80s, people used to throw fish at the Islanders' Denis Potvin. Didn't last long, but it was actually pretty funny.
    posted by psmealey at 5:01 AM on April 9, 2005

    Oh, and Wisconsin fans singing really dirty lyrics to the tune of the Michigan Fight Song, among others.
    posted by psmealey at 5:46 AM on April 9, 2005

    There's a small-ish cult of Brewers fans that try to drink 1 beer and eat 1 bratwurst every inning.

    I've sat near them in the past, and they all look pretty green by the 6th inning.
    posted by rocketman at 6:20 AM on April 9, 2005

    University of Maryland (at least when I was there):

    Shout "Hey-You Suck!" during that silly "Rock and Roll Part II" song.

    Reading the Diamondback (school paper) when the other team is introduced, then crumpling it in a ball and throwing it at the team.

    Shouting "BOING-OING-OING!!!" whenever the opposing team bounces a 3 pointer off the rim.

    Overturning cars and burning down the bookstore after a win.
    posted by remlapm at 6:39 AM on April 9, 2005 [1 favorite]

    The sausage races that drezdn refers to really are impressive.
    posted by jessamyn at 7:56 AM on April 9, 2005

    A few hockey traditions:

    At New York Islanders hockey games they play the "Chicken Dance" song, every game. Regardless of who the opposing team is, people always shout "THE RANGERS SUCK!" along with the "chorus" of the song.

    At Florida Panthers games, at one point people threw plastic rats onto the ice. The octopus thing mentioned above is/was done at Detroit Red WIngs games.
    posted by skwm at 8:00 AM on April 9, 2005

    Baltimore Orioles fans shout "O" in unison with the "O say does that..." part of the national anthem. This was also common at high school football games in Maryland when I was growing up.

    Harvard hockey fans shout "Sieve! Sieve! Sieve!" at opposing goalies when Harvard scores.
    posted by escabeche at 9:24 AM on April 9, 2005

    I wonder if football teams have more traditions based on fans in large numbers tailgating. Here's a few from the KC Chief's:

    Announcer: "Another Kansas City Chief's ..."
    Crowd: "First down!"

    In the national anthem, instead of saying "home of the braves", it is replaced with "home of the chiefs" by the crowd.

    When the Chief's get a touchdown, I believe the song is a modified Steam's "Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Hey" which leads to the crowd going "Na na hey" and the second or third time around they cut off the song so the fans go "We're going to beat the fuck out you... you... you" while doing the Indian tomahawk thing with their arm. Quite possibly the most wonderfully offensive tradition ever.
    posted by geoff. at 10:17 AM on April 9, 2005

    The University of Michigan hockey fans have recently been asked by coach Red Berenson to tone down their cheers. The C-Ya chant (when an opposing player gets a penalty) gets longer and more obscene every year. A sanitized version from 2003 is:

    Ahhhhhhh see ya chump, synonym for male genitals (d version), wuss, object used for 'feminine hygiene,' rectal cavity, synonym for male genitals (p version), cheater, female dog! [source]

    A more clever chant, to taunt opposing goalies is:

    You're not a goalie, you're a sieve, you're not a sieve, you're a funnel, you're not a funnel, you're a vacuum, you're not a vacuum, you're a black hole, you're not a black hole, YOU JUST SUCK, YOU JUST SUCK, YOU JUST SUCK!

    When the opposing team members are introduced by the announcer, fans either turn their back or hold newspapers up as if they were reading them, yelling "Who Cares!?" after each name.

    When the other team's parents start cheering (e.g., after a goal), the crowd shouts "Ugly Parents! Ugly Parents!" until they sit down. Likewise, if the opposing goalie takes off his mask (e.g., to get a drink), the crowd shouts "Ugly Goalie!" until he put it back on, then they cheer.

    If Michigan is winning toward the end of the game, the bandleader dances, then the crowd points back and forth to him and the opposing goalie chanting "Dancer...Sieve" as they do so.
    posted by i love cheese at 10:30 AM on April 9, 2005

    The Michigan Tech Pep Band plays the "Blue Skirt Waltz" during the last quarter/period break (depending on the sport, natch), and the crowd stands and sways along with the waltz tune. (Those who know the words will sing along.) Sometimes the mascot will snag a willing female fan out of the stands and waltz with her.

    There's also a power play drum riff (well, it used to be for a Tech power play, but the coach asked that it be changed to a short-handed riff, because it was hard for the players to hear over it).

    Some bands in the WCHA play "Auld Lang Syne" for a series sweep.
    posted by jlkr at 1:03 PM on April 9, 2005

    Fans of all University of Minnesota Gopher sports teams sing a rouser after every goal/touchdown/etc, followed by M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A, Minnesota, Minnesota, Yeah Gophers.

    In Madison, after all games, they sing "Varsity". Man, I hate that song. Wisconsin football also has the wonderful tradition of House of Pain's "Jump Around", where everyone in the stadium - both fans and players - jump around for the entire song. Pretty damn impressive.
    posted by emoeby at 1:33 PM on April 9, 2005

    I love cheese, the "you're not a goalie, you're a sieve" routine (ending with only one "YOU JUST SUCK" but otherwise identical) was also current at Harvard hockey games in the early 1990s; where and when it originated, I can't say.
    posted by escabeche at 1:41 PM on April 9, 2005

    When West Bromwich Albion score a goal, the fans jump up and down chanting "boing boing!"
    posted by salmacis at 2:28 PM on April 9, 2005

    This may actually be fairly common at schools, but at Texas A&M football games, all the Aggies stand the entire game. It's called the 12th man.
    explanation here, if anyone is interested:
    posted by Amanda B at 4:56 PM on April 9, 2005

    Another Texas A&M tradition is that whenever they play and beat their arch-rivals University of Texas (which is not that often nowadays) the fans will file out of the stadium chanting "poor tea-sips" (tea sipping apparently being especially embarrsing for a football team).

    There is also a whole tradition around the Texas A&M bonfire, but I believe that was changed after the woodpile collpased a few years ago killing several students.
    posted by thewittyname at 7:49 PM on April 9, 2005

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