Whether it stems from superstition, good luck, or to rile up the crowds, athletes and sports fans are notorious for following traditions. At an Oakland Raiders game, you'll see the "Black Hole" section housing some of the most intense fans of any sport. The Ohio State marching band performs their traditional "dotting the i" routine. Whatever the custom is, fans and players alike embrace it. Do you know the origin of the "terrible towel" at Pittsburgh Steelers games that began in 1975?
Have Yourself A Milk
After spending three hours racing, your body gets drained. This is especially true if you're competing in the heat. Naturally, you might want either water or a sports drink, but after you win the Indy 500, you get handed a nice cold bottle of milk. The tradition started in 1936 when Louis Meyer, who regularly drank buttermilk, was seen chugging it after the win.
Ryan Hunter-Reay won the Indy 500 in 2014 and said: "I had always dreamt of drinking that milk. When it actually happens, and they hand you the bottle you're like, ‘Wow, this is the moment I've been waiting for all these years.'"
Bring In The Octopus!
In 1952, one of the strangest traditions got its start. The Red Wings needed to win eight playoff games to secure the Stanely Cup, so that's when Jerry and Pete Cusimano took action. The two brothers owned a fish market and wanted their team to win. That's when they threw the eight-legged sea creature onto the ice.
The octopus might have been magical because the Red Wings went on to pull a clean-sweep. They won eight games with no losses, and the octopus has been flung around ever since.
The 76ers Ring the Bell
The Liberty Bell symbolizes peace. Not only that, but it also signifies the start of a Philadelphia 76ers game. The 76ers have been "trusting the process" for a long time, and it finally came together in 2018. They made it back to the playoffs after a long drought, so ringing the bell came back in style.
Stars from Philadelphia like comedian Kevin Hart, pictured above, have taken their turn in ringing this bell. One strike and the Wells Fargo Center goes insane.
Someone Grab The Scissors
After a men's or women's college basketball team wins a championship game, you might have noticed the nets being cut down. This is a trend that has been around since 1947. Former North Carolina coach Everett Case was so happy his team won, he wanted a souvenir.
Back then, the tradition had barely started, so there were no ladders ready after the game. His players had to hoist him up as he cut down the net. Now, players and coaches get in on the act to celebrate the big victory.
The Pittsburgh Steelers' Terrible Towel
The Pittsburgh Steelers have carried their towels for more than 40 years now. It might not seem like anything special, but when this tradition started, it was a memorable sight.
It started off a radio gimmick in 1975. Sports analyst Myron Cope started waving his terrible towel from the press booth, and the rest of the fans began to catch on and wave a towel. Ever since then, you can bet your bottom dollar there will be at least 1,000 towels at every Steelers home game.
Florida State's Burning Spear
One lucky student from Florida State University is given the honor of carrying out a fiery tradition. As it stands, a student comes charging into the football stadium dressed as Chief Osceola. He brings a burning spear with him and rides a horse with an unusual pattern.
The crowd goes wild as this takes place, but they get even louder once he throws the burning spear into the ground. The tradition started in 1978 and is said to have ties to a secret society at FSU.
Celebrate With A Lambeau Leap!
The "Lambeau Leap" is probably one of the most legendary touchdown traditions in all of football. It started in 1993 with a player named LeRoy Butler. He jumped over the low wall at Lambeau Field and into the crowd to celebrate his touchdown with fans.
It's an intimate touchdown celebration where players and fans are able to interact. You can see it imitated by other teams in other cities often. As much as they try, it will never be the same outside of Green Bay. A statue has since been built to commemorate Butler and the leap.
Play Like A Champion at Notre Dame
Before every home game, you know the football players of Notre Dame all share the same mindset: "Play like a champion." In the past, the sign hung over an entrance to the Notre Dame stadium. Sadly, it was taken down. Former head coach Lou Holtz had another one made and placed it at the exit of the team's locker room.
Before games, the players slap the sign for good luck. Other programs have adopted a similar tradition, but take note that they all got it from Notre Dame.
Fly Like An Eagle in Auburn
You might wonder why the Auburn University's Tigers football team has an eagle fly around the field before the game starts. A live eagle has lived on campus at the university since 1930. Students, alumni, and football fans use the War Eagle battle cry as a traditional greeting. The first Eagle took flight in Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2000.
To clarify the confusion between tigers and eagles, the university explained: "We are the Tigers who say "War Eagle." The War Eagle battle cry began in 1892 during the Civil War.
The Haka War Dance in New Zealand
The Haka war dance has been a tradition with New Zealand athletes for ages. It began with the New Zealand Native football team in 1888. The rugby team then began performing it at away matches in 1905. It was a novelty before Wayne Shelford started having teams practice it seriously in the mid-1980s.
This intimidating dance or chant will make you question going up against New Zealand on the field. Once you get past the fear-factor, then you'll see it's just a traditional act that's nice to watch.
The Stanley Cup Playoff Beard
As if hockey wasn't already masculine enough, playoff time breeds more masculinity. When it the season reaches the playoff hockey players are laser-focused on the Stanley Cup. Their mindset changes and their appearance does, too.
Players stop shaving once their team enters the Stanley Cup playoffs in order to keep their mojo. The tradition was started in the 1980s by Butch Goring and the New York Islanders. The only exception of shaving during the playoffs is after a loss, when they're trying to rid of the bad luck.
Say It Loud: Beat LA
Whenever the Los Angeles Lakers play at an opposing arena, they pray they don't lose. Fans in other cities love bringing down the Lakers when their home team is winning. Crowds will begin to chant "Beat LA!" as the game winds down. But what's funny is the chant didn't originate during a game where the Lakers were actually playing.
The tradition started with Boston Celtics fans in 1982. The Celtics were losing to the Philadelphia 76ers during a game seven of the playoffs. Instead of letting the defeat get to them, they started to chant "Beat LA" to support any team going up against the Lakers.
Ohio State's Marching Band Doesn't Play Around
If marching bands are your thing, then you need to add Ohio State University's performance to your bucket list. Each year new members are added to the team due to others graduating. That means each year they have to practice the choreography in hopes of a flawless routine.
Every year, the marching band never disappoints. Their "dotting the i" routine is the best thing college marching bands have ever done. For them to cleanly pull this off year-after-year is impressive and worth watching.
Welcome To The Black Hole
There was a point in time when the Raiders were one of the best teams in the NFL for many years. Starting in 1965, they had winning seasons for nineteen years out of twenty. Their overall record during that span was 285-146-11. During this period, the Raiders grew one of the most loyal fanbases in the league.
At every home game, fans try to make the environment as scary as possible for the opposing team. Dressing in outrageous outfits and screaming obscenities, the Oakland Alameda Coliseum transforms into the Black Hole.
The Klement's Racing Sausages in Milwaukee
Giant racing sausages will undoubtedly entertain the people. The Milwaukee Brewers started this tradition back in 1991. It was a way to promote Klement's Sausage company because their dogs and brats get sold at the games. The race is held at the bottom of the sixth inning at every Brewers game.
There were initially three sausages: the bratwurst, the Polish sausage, and the Italian sausage. The hot dog and the chorizo were added later. This tradition of Major League Baseball might not intimidate opposing teams or be of help for the home team, but it is fun to watch.
Here Comes The Schooner!
Before the start of their home football games at the University of Oklahoma, the famous Sooner Schooner gets brought out, and the crowd goes wild every time. The performance includes a replica of the Studebaker Conestoga wagon, pulled by two white horses named Boomer and Sooner.
The first appearance of the wagon and horses was 1964 at a home game against University of Southern California. Even though the Sooners ended up losing that game, the tradition continued.
As if the pressure of playing against the Duke Blue Devils wasn't enough, the environment at their home court is even rougher for visiting teams. The Cameron Indoor stadium is filled with wild students every game as they cheer on their Blue Devils. It gets unbearably loud in there.
To make matters worse for the opposing team, the section on the sideline loves to heckle. Whenever the opposite team inbounds the ball, fans will reach out and act like they are going to touch the player, while taunting.
The Midnight Yell at Texas A&M
This tradition is what you call taking it to the next level. The night before each home football game, Texas A&M University holds their own version of a pep rally called the Midnight Yell. More than 25,000 fans gather at the Kyle Field, where they yell and get hyped up for tomorrow's game.
The yell started back in 1913 when A&M was an all-male military school. Today the Fighting' Texas Aggie Band and the Yell leaders begin the tradition by parading through campus to the field, complete with torches
Give Him His Jacket
Competing in The Masters is a rite of passage for many golfers. It lets them know they are going places in the golf world because only the best compete there. That also means only the best will win, and when they do, they get rewarded handsomely.
Winners of The Masters get to receive their very own green jacket. The sharp-looking jackets signify greatness. Golfers dream of attaining one of these.
The Legendary Gatorade Shower
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We see it all the time. From players to coaches, after a big victory, you can expect someone is going to receive a Gatorade shower. And it's all thanks to the New York Giants. The tradition started in 1985 after Jim Burt showered his coach, Bill Parcells.
“He just dumped the bucket on me and of course it surprised me, but I had to really laugh because it was funny and it was his way of telling me that I was a little bit of a jerk, but the joke was on me now,” Parcells told the New York Times.