People love sports traditions because they unite an entire fanbase. Traditions transcend individuals and connect the owners to the players to the fans to the security guards.
Each tradition is special in its own way. Whether it was started long ago or came about by accident or just by chance, each tradition keeps a special place in sports fans' hearts and remains an expression of loyalty to their team, or to athletics in general.
Here are the best of the quirky, the superstitious and the ones that make you tingle all over: The best traditions in sports.
15. Pie in the Face After a Walk-Off
A tradition used strictly in baseball, a player is usually pied in the face after a walk off hit. However, they may also find themselves pied if they pitch a no hitter or perform some other heroic act for their team.
The pie is usually deployed while the player is giving an on-field post game press conference. That way the player is concentrating on something else, can't really run away because they've got equipment hooked up to them and look like a fool on national TV, it's the optimal pieing time.
Pies are usually made of shaving cream but I was interested when I found this picture of a player using and actual pie. Where do these pies come from? Do they store them in the clubhouse just in case? Is it possible for them to use an apple pie instead because it tastes better?
Despite the questions, I'd much rather get pied by a real pie than a shaving cream pie, unless you were planning to shave after the game, but I suppose that's beside the point.
Moral of the story: When it comes to pieing, a little extra effort goes a long way.
14. Play Like a Champion Today
The slogan "Play Like a Champion Today" has been linked with the University of Notre Dame since the 1800s, but the sign was originally used in the locker room by ND coaching legend Lou Holtz.
Traditionally, the players touch the sign on their way out of the tunnel and onto the field.
Notre Dame is arguably the most prestigious football school of all time, thus there's a discrepancy between all other traditions, and Notre Dame traditions. Hey, they do have God on their side after all.
The players touching the sign embodies the university's commitment to excellence and the simple slogan is one of the most iconic motivational quotes known today.
13. Not Acknowledging a Player's First Career Home Run
Origins are sketchy but you have to love this tasteful and funny tradition.
There's nothing like seeing a bright eyed 20-something-year-old MLB rookie smack his first home run and round the bases with a huge smile only to get back into the dugout and find his teammates staring at their feet.
The tradition is somewhat superstitious because they don't want to jinx the player, but it's first and foremost a prank on an energetic rookie.
Needless to say, the dugout usually breaks the silent treatment later on, but the tradition still remains rich.
12. Exchanging of the Jerseys
Jersey swapping is said to have originated in 1931 after France stunned England in a friendly match by scoring five goals against the football powerhouse.
The French asked for the English player's jerseys as a sign of respect and a way to commemorate their victory, thus jersey swapping was born.
Currently, FIFA does not allow the exchanging of jerseys after games but the rule is enforced loosely. Frankly, it's better to make it legal. It's a great display of sportsmanship in a game where the fanbases are passionate to the point where things can get out of control sometimes. Seeing players swap jerseys is a big reality check to all the fans that it's just a game and that your opponents deserve sportsmanship and respect.
After all, nothing says I respect you like a shirt that's just seen 90 minutes of perspiration, how's that thing smell, Bastian?
11. Seventh Inning Stretch
The seventh inning stretch is a baseball tradition where all the fans rise from their seats during the middle of the seventh inning, give their arms and legs a stretch and maybe get a late-game snack.
The origins of the seventh inning stretch are disputed but the tradition may date back to the late 19th century. However popular culture would have you believe that former President William Howard Taft stood up to stretch at a Washington Senators game in 1910, upon seeing their Commander and Chief rise, the entire stadium stood up.
What makes this tradition so great is that it's still around even though it's not really necessary. Back then the bleachers were hard, uncomfortable benches and people weren't on their cell phones or getting snacks every inning, they just sat there and watched the game, so the stretch was needed.
Now, it's not required so much but we still honor it.
10. Detroit Fans Tossing the Octopus
Believe it or not, Detroit fans tossing live octopi onto the ice is not the brainchild of some drunk idiots trying to make a funny. The tradition actually dates back to 1952.
Back then, teams played two best of seven series to capture the Stanley Cup. The octopus became a symbol of victory because it had eight arms and the Red Wings needed eight wins to drink from Lord Stanley's Cup.
Brothers Jerry and Pete Cusimano made the first move by nicking a octopus from the market that they owned and throwing it onto the ice during a playoff game. The Wings went on to sweep the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs en route to a championship.
Since then, the octopus has become a symbol of Detroit Hockey, and during every home playoff game it is customary to throw octopi onto the ice.
A purple octopus named Al has even become the team's unofficial mascot.
Fans took the tradition a bit too far in 1995 when 36 octopi were thrown onto the ice, including a specimen weighing in at 38 pounds (holy s***).
In an effort to extend the lore of the octopus, Wings fans have developed a proper etiquette and technique when throwing the creatures onto the ice (note: I don't believe licking it is part of the etiquette).
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