Like countries or families, sports are filled with traditions unique to their history that define what it means to be a part of a team's legacy. Some teams have no traditions, so their tradition is not showing up to games. But these eight traditions were created by teams and fans that truly care, some to the point where they stopped giving any kind of shit about possibly killing a bunch of people with their traditions.
#8. Silent Night
At most colleges, the oncoming threat of finals turns students into a doomsday cult trying to squeeze in one last drunken orgy before the world ends. Meanwhile, students of Taylor University in Indiana, an Evangelical Christian college, listen to readings of Christmas stories and make gingerbread houses the week before fall finals. It's pretty wild, if you're in a retirement home. But on the Friday before finals, students collectively blow their load during one of their Division III basketball team's games. They call it "Silent Night," because "Collective Load Blow" isn't very Christian.
"Our prayer sessions can get pretty crazy sometimes."
When the ball tips off, a creepy silence fills the gym. The fans in the packed stands look on in dead silence. You'd think Taylor was a school for mutes. The only things you hear come from players shouting at each other, the squeak of their sneakers on the court, and the dribble of the ball. The home crowd remains absolutely silent ... until Taylor scores their 10th point. Then this happens:
The place goes bonkers. Everyone leaps to their feet, and students storm the court like their Division III team just won a national title. Music blares. Everyone chants and claps and jumps. It's a collective orgasm, a release of pent-up frustration and stress.
#7. Playoff Beards in the NHL
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The 1980 New York Islanders unlocked the secret ingredient needed to take a team from "perennial runner-up" to "Suck it, I'm a champion": beards.
Some of the players grew the wooly face thickets at the start of the playoffs, and the rest of the team followed. They won the Stanley Cup that year. So they grew playoff beards for the next three seasons in a row and won the Stanley Cup each year. Their playoff strategy was facial hair, and they assumed the rest would work itself out from there.
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"See, told you playoff Brazilian waxes were not the way to go."
Athletes are superstitious, so when a new superstition comes along that clearly works, every other team and player is going to adopt it. Today, the playoff beard is a tradition for the entire sport. This has led to some of the most frighteningly manly facial hair you'll ever see. Beards that will carve a casket out of a tree and bury you in it:
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Beards that confuse bears and make them think you're their cousin Larry:
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Beards that make holding a gigantic trophy look like a mid-orgasm Viking at the post-invasion Viking orgy:
Bill Smith/National Hockey League/NHLI via Getty Images
It's not just hockey anymore. The 2012-2013 Boston Red Sox won the World Series, possibly due in part to teammates growing vicious beards that could do all the fighting in a bar fight as the beard's owner sits back and chugs a Bud.
The beard itself doesn't have as much to do with winning as the camaraderie of a whole team sporting beards does, but damn -- I guess making the other team think you're a hillbilly militia doesn't hurt.
#6. West Virginia University Basically Sets Their Town on Fire Because Sports
The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA title in 2000, 2009, and 2010, and all three of those recent championships were commemorated by Lakers fans with mass riots that tore the city apart. Of course, the media made a big deal about it. That tradition isn't in this article, because post-game riots are a weekly occurrence for students at West Virginia University, who set their town ablaze and occasionally toss in a riot for good measure after pretty much every football and basketball game, with a particular emphasis on setting couches on fire in the middle of the street.
"Now to sleep this off- shit, that was my bed, too."
If there isn't a couch handy, WVU students settle for flipping cars:
Some 1,799 street fires and 633 dumpster fires have been set by WVU students in Morgantown, West Virginia, in the past 15 years. That's 2,432 fires started, and all because sports happened. Win or lose -- doesn't matter. Just as laughter is an involuntary response to seeing something funny, setting couches and dumpsters on fire is a WVU student's involuntary response to hearing that sports is happening somewhere, and their school's team may be involved somehow.
#5. Michigan Hockey Fans Get Really Mean After Their Team Scores a Goal
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Usually, chants are used to cattle prod the home crowd into pretending they give a shit and remind the home team that the crowd hasn't passed out from a gas leak. The chants shouted by fans of University of Michigan hockey are a bit different: They exist solely to drive the visiting team into therapy. So when Michigan scores a goal, fans will point to the opposing goalie and shout "Sieve, sieve, sieve, sieve, sieve, sieve, sieve! It's all your fault! It's all your fault! It's all your fault! It's all your fault!"
They turn into a haunting stress nightmare and rain a reminder of failure upon the goalie like a Megazord of verbally abusive parents.
If the crowd hears a phone ring in the press box of their tiny arena, they'll chant, "Hey, [opposing goalie's name]! It's your mom! She says, 'You suck!'"
Speaking of parents, when a visiting team's parents stand up and cheer after a goal, Wolverines fans shout "Ugly parents!" And if the opposing goalie takes off his helmet at any point, the crowd chants "Ugly goalie!" When the helmet goes back on, they cheer.
To further drive the goalie to suicide, they do their "Sieve!" chant and follow it with "You're not a sieve, you're a funnel! You're not a funnel, you're a vacuum! You're not a vacuum, you're a black hole! You're not a black hole, you just suck! You just suck! You just suck! You just suck!"
And because Wolverines fans are apparently a bunch of mean assholes, as an opposing player enters the penalty box, he's greeted with "See ya! Chump, dick, wuss, douchebag, asshole, prick, cheater, bitch, whore!"
They're like children who just learned curse words and don't know what they mean but know that they make people cry, and that's good enough for them.