A Twisted History of Sports Traditions
Sports fans love a good tradition. Everything from singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th-inning stretch to “Gentlemen Start Your Engines” at the beginning of the Indy 500. We love them all. At least, we love most of them. Here are some of the stranger traditions that dot the sports landscapes, as well as a couple that most fans haven’t heard of just yet.
1. The Hat Trick: I like a good hockey figh, er, game as much as the next guy, and I don’t think that hockey fans would be offended by my saying that they are a little … off. The mildest of their traditions is the hat trick. This tradition started in Ontario with the Biltmore Mad Hatters. When one of the players scored three goals in a game, the team owner Mr. Biltmore would present him with a new fedora.
2. Throwing an Octopus on the Ice: Now this is more like it, hockey fans! This tradition was born in 1952 when fewer NHL teams meant that the road to the Stanley Cup only took eight playoff wins. To mark this occasion, brothers Pete and Jerry Cusimano threw the eight-legged creature onto the ice to represent the Red Wings eight games against the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. Since then, hundreds of octopuses (and that really is the proper plural. I checked.) have rained down onto the Motor City rink, including one tossed by Bob Dubisky and Larry Shotwell that weighed 50 lbs.
3. The Women’s Softball Mid-Inning Celebration: First, let there be no doubt that the Oregon softball team deserves tons and tons of credit and praise for the magnificent season they just completed. They rained honor down upon themselves, the university and Eugene in general. Well done ladies! Such teamwork! Such camaraderie! Such esprit’ de corps.
So many celebrations.
But the fun is only beginning. My crack staff beat the bushes to find out if there are any traditions in the works that will make the upcoming football season more enjoyable. We only had to look as far as our neighbors to the Pac-12 north:
4. The University of Washington Simian Toss: Did you know that the last time Washington beat Oregon on the football field was, well, politeness compels me to say only that it was multiple President’s ago. Teddy Roosevelt, I think, but I can’t be sure.
Washington fans know that the long dry spell versus the premier team in the Pac-12 means that there is an immediate monkey on Chris Petersen’s back. Rather than denying that fact, Husky fans have decided to embrace it. NASCAR driver Tony Stewart has been invited to this year’s Oregon win over the Dogs. He will be throwing out the first monkey.
5. The Oregon State Attendance Drive: Oregon State University is nothing if not a school of marketing geniuses. They only had to turn their attention to dwindling attendance and increasing apathy toward Beaver football to know that something had to be done. Taking their cue from the Texas Rangers, who give a truck away if a Ranger hits a home run into the bed of a Dodge pickup, the Beavers are going to be giving a vehicle away this season.
You know what sports tradition is my favorite? This one
Top photo byace94.blogspot.com