While there are plenty of crazy superstitions in sports, there are some pretty cool traditions too. With Wrigley Field tweaking the singing of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” last season—single-handedly ruining one of the great things fans looked forward to the most in sports—we wondered which other traditions are still around that are the best. So next time you hit a game, keep an eye out for some of these.
8. Playoff Beards
It’s no secret that guys love facial hair more than women do, so when athletes actually have a good reason to grow their fur out besides pure laziness, it should be celebrated. Starting in the 1980s by the New York Islanders, it got more popular in the mid-90s and has taken on a whole new level since, giving both fans and teammates a chance to build unity and have some fun during an intense playoff run.
7. You’ll Never Walk Alone
After the band Gerry and the Pacemakers (who hailed from Liverpool) topped the UK charts with this song back in 1963, the townies made it their own, declaring it the anthem of Liverpool F.C., and belting it out before each home game. Soccer fan or not, you will get chills hearing a ton of drunk, Brits mumbling the lyrics.
6. The Haka
A traditional war dance of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team since 1905, the haka features some intimidating lyrics and intense body movements that are used to both pump up the squad and intimidate the opposition. Rugby’s a fast, violent sport, but this is something that shows unity amongst players looking to run over their opponent.
5. Dotting the “I”
As a native Ohioan and Ohio State fan, we know just how prestigious this tradition actually is. First occurring in 1936, it goes to the longest-tenured sousaphone player in the band, with many members making it their goal from the moment they step foot on campus to do it before they graduate. Once a student does it, they fall into great company, while securing a memory that they’ll never forget.
4. The Hockey Handshake
We admit that we’re not huge hockey fans, but one of the coolest things to see after a hard fought series during a playoff series, in which things surely got testy and games were as much psychological as physical, is seeing the players on both teams line up and shake hands. It’s a sign of respect, but it’s odd to see from professional athletes, as it’s something more suited towards a youth league game.
3. Rushing the Floor/Field
Though there are many out there who don’t necessarily think this is safe asthere have been some crazy things that happen—it’s still something that every college kid should experience at some point in their four years on campus. It celebrates their team doing something unexpected like upsetting a ranked team, rival or breaking a record, and reminds everyone why college sports is so fun.
2. Trading Soccer Jersey’s
While most people in the States might not appreciate this one, if you’ve ever tuned-in to a World Cup match, then you know why this is so damn cool. It’s a guy who just put 90-plus minutes of sweat, tears and pride for his country on the line from America, trying to communicate with his opposition who did the same thing from South Africa, trading tops out of respect for both each other’s play and the game.
1. “God Bless America”
It might be worn out for some people’s tastes, but it’s something that literally makes us tear up depending on both the version and the sporting event. If you’re looking to really make us toss some saline down our cheeks, just watch us during a night playoff game when this is sung at Yankee Stadium. We don’t care who you are, if you’re American, you can feel the passion pouring out of every single fan in that stadium.
Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images for NHL