Top 5 Great American Sports Traditions: No. 3 Will Shock You!

Traditions and customs at any event are what makes it truly memorable. Whether it is just the signing of the national anthem before a game or famous chants across a stadium or at home in front of a screen, it makes us feel like a part of something special.

For sports fans, whatever sport it may be, having unique sports traditions is what makes watching the game even more exciting and something to look forward to. Hence, we have compiled the top 5 great American sports traditions that are surely worth the read and if you are not aware of them, you can be part of them too!

1. Cheerleading routine before a game

Cheerleading is a fun activity which is also a common sports tradition that is seen before a game, mostly when the team players arrive on spot. This ritual is seen as a sign of encouragement for the players and a source of entertainment for the audience, with a lot of fans who come to watch a live game because of the cheerleading performance! The cheerleading is usually a minimum 2 player sports traditional chant for the team that they are supporting or perform an intense combination of dance and physical activity. A routine includes a dance routine with all the members in sync with their moves; it will typically vary from a minute to three minutes. This is a common practice done in United States and can be regarded as one of the most popular and widely done traditions before and during a collegiate or professional game. While it is greatly seen in basketball and American football games, even in a sport like hockey, cheerleaders come in the form of ice girls!

2. The infamous Gatorade showers

The Gatorade shower incident took place done back in 1984, when the New York Giants player decided to bathe his head coach with the Gatorade cooler. Gatorade being a famous energy drink which is available in different colors. After the incident, it became a team tradition where after a team win, the players would drench their coach in Gatorade drink. This tradition became a constant way of celebrating in the National Football League games where after winning the iconic Super Bowl trophy or during the final few seconds of the game, the NFL team players go about to fetch the Gatorade cooler from the sidelines and throw the colored drink from within the cooler directly onto their head coach!

In case you are wondering, this year’s Super Bowl Gatorade shower was purple!

3. Throwing hats after a hat trick

The term hat trick is used in several solo and team sports but here we will discuss the hat trick tradition in a hockey game. But what exactly is a hat trick in an ice hockey game? It is when a player scores three goals in a game, which is not something that is easy to do! Fans take this moment to throw out their hats in the field as a way to celebrate the great moment in the game! This tradition surely brings the fans and the players together as the team feels a great sense of achievement with such an action. So, for the ice hockey fans out there, if you did not know about this tradition, keep an extra hat for the next game you go watch a game!

While this must be a pleasant sight to see, back in the 90s, Florida Panthers fans had a nasty tradition where they threw plastic rats onto the ice rink after their team scored! Now that’s surely not a very pleasant sight for the players! And a tradition more shocking than that is the ‘Legend of the Octopus’, a sports tradition that goes back to 1952, where during Detroit Red Wings home playoff games, people threw dead octopuses into the ice arena! A 1995 game recorded 36 octopuses thrown by the fans on the ice rink with one weighing around 17kgs!

4. Joining a tailgate party

While this is something that a lot of people do not know about, this unique yet wholesome activity takes place usually before American football, hockey, baseball, soccer games. So, what is exactly is the tradition of tailgating and where does the term come from? A tailgate party is a social get-together where fans before or even after a game, brings different items such as snacks, foods, beverages and even grill or barbecue meat around an open tailgate of a vehicle! This is common in the United States; this tradition takes place in the parking lots of different stadiums and arenas where the professional games are held. Fans who attend are said to be ‘tailgating’. There are also simple, fun lawn games played that go well with the food and drinks! While this non-commercial tradition provides a fun sports experience for the fans, tailgates are casual in nature so anyone selling any item to the fans can be criticized.

5. Watching/Playing on Thanksgiving

This tradition may remind you of one of the most hilarious episodes of friends where they play football on Thanksgiving Day! This is an unofficial tradition that dates back to 1869, amongst people who are football fans and we all know that Americans love their football! The Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys, two famous football teams continue to play every year on the Thanksgiving Day holiday and since 2006, the National Football League (NFL) featured a third show, a prime-time evening showdown which has no specific teams as compared to the afternoon games. While fans watch the game on the turkey holiday as a tradition for years, some even have their full-turkey meal and go outside to play a round of football with friends and family.

This is a perfect family and friends’ tradition which involves a hearty meal, a good game of football- whether you are watching it or playing with your loved ones!

What do you think?

Written by Usama

Usama J. is a passionate writer about the sports and works as an in house sports journalist at Openiun, and covered many international sporting events including ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022.