#4. All Blacks Rugby Team Doing Haka
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Before the start of a game, teams will huddle and get pumped by shouting boilerplate motivational slogans to remind themselves that they'll stop getting paychecks if they don't win. Where most pump-up chants fail is in their lack of absurd claims about the important role the team plays in the day-to-day functions of our solar system. The pregame chant performed by the New Zealand rugby team the All Blacks (it's not a racial thing) fills that gap.
"Either we win, or none of us will be able to pay child support for our broods of illegitimate kids."
Before each game, they perform a war cry called the Haka, originally created by a group of early Polynesian settlers of New Zealand called the Maori who, like all great warriors, created a song and dance number to prove how badass they were. This is what teams have to watch before playing the All Blacks:
Here are the translated lyrics:
'Tis death! 'tis death! (or: I may die) 'Tis life! 'tis life! (or: I may live)
'Tis death! 'tis death! 'Tis life! 'tis life!
This is the hairy man
Who brought the sun and caused it to shine
A step upward, another step upward!
A step upward, another ... the sun shines!
It must be hard for coaches to give the "Now go out there and have fun" speech after a bunch of burly dudes stand in rows, squat their legs, slap themselves, and then scream about death and how they are the reason the sun shines before a game.
#3. Wisconsin's "Jump Around"
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If you want to experience a mosh pit but don't feel like getting kicked in the face by a suburban white kid whose body is ferociously fighting off his Paxil dosage, then you are rewarded the gloriousness of seeing the mosh pit from the stands. It's beautiful -- a violent ocean of human bodies pulsating in unison with a rhythm that isn't tidal, it's supernatural, like Poseidon is about to break from beneath the surface of the human-ocean wearing a Slayer T-shirt.
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The eye of the Paxil hurricane.
If you're in Wisconsin and Slayer is nowhere to be found but you still want to see a writhing mass of humanity attempt to shake a structure to the ground, go to a University of Wisconsin Badgers football game. Between the third and fourth quarters, the iconic opening of House of Pain's "Jump Around" blares from the stadium speakers. For a moment, there's a stillness in the crowd. And then ... the beat drops. The fans in Camp Randall Stadium do exactly as the song instructs -- they jump. All 80,000 of them.
Even visiting teams take part:
The vibrations made by 80,000 people jumping at the same time are so powerful that, in 2003, University of Wisconsin officials feared the jumping was going to rattle the stadium to the ground, so they suspended the tradition. It was reinstated after students demanded that they be afforded the opportunity to nearly kill 80,000 people every Sunday.
#2. People Throwing Shit on the Ice at Hockey Games
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Hockey isn't very popular in America, which is why it's basically the sports version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It has a small yet extremely devoted cult following made up of people who desperately try to be a part of the action. So when fans aren't hurling obscenities at players like they do in Michigan, they're hurling random shit onto the ice.
20th Century Fox
You've heard of a hat trick, right? It's when a player scores three goals in one game. When it happens, fans will show a complete disregard for the money they've spent on the hat they wore to the game by tossing it onto the ice. It's not many; usually a few hats. But from here, things escalate wildly.
Once a year, a minor league team called the Calgary Hitmen hold a charity teddy bear toss. When the Hitmen score their first goal of the game, the crowd of 17,000-plus throw around 26,000 teddy bears onto the ice.
In 1952, two brothers from Detroit tossed a dead octopus onto the ice before the Detroit Red Wings started their playoff run. Back then, a team only needed to win a total of eight games in the playoffs to be Stanley Cup champions. Eight wins, eight tentacles -- the logic is impeccable. Stop signs are red and have eight sides -- they could have thrown a stop sign. Nope. Octopus. Ever since then, fans have been tossing real octopuses onto the ice at Red Wings games. The guy who cleans it up whirls them around his head, because we've so dominated the octopus that we use their corpses as rally towels.
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This also counts as a visual representation of Detroit's economy.
In the 1995-1996 NHL season, Florida Panther Scott Mellanby killed a rat in the locker room with his hockey stick and then scored two goals later that night. Word got out, and soon Panther fans started throwing hundreds of plastic (sometimes real) rats onto the ice. By the time the Panthers were in the finals, every goal they scored was followed by this:
The NHL eventually starting penalizing teams whose fans threw stuff on the ice, because finding new and exciting ways to ruin fun is always the NHL's number one off-season priority.
#1. Players Get to Spend a Day With the Stanley Cup
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Each member of a Stanley Cup champion team gets to spend about a day with the cup during the off-season. Most do basic celebratory stuff, like drink champagne out of it. Others, like six-time Stanley Cup champ Mark Messier, take it to a strip club and let a stripper dance on it. A year later, he won it again and dented the cup during another wild celebration. He had the dent fixed at an auto-repair shop.
"While you were out, we fixed your trophy's transmission and added spinning rims. $7,000, please!"
There's a long tradition of players doing weird stuff with one of the oldest, most prized trophies in sports. That trophy has seen some shit, man.
In 1905, when the trophy was still mostly just a bowl, the Ottawa Senators nearly lost it when a teammate tried to drunkenly dropkick it across a frozen river.
It took weeks to find the cup after the 1906 Montreal Wanderers left it in a photo studio after a shoot. The photographer's mom was using it as a flower pot.
Here's a heartwarming tale: In 1925, the Victoria Cougars won the cup. Lynn and Muzz Patrick, the sons of the Cougars head coach, found the cup in their basement, so they used a nail to scratch their names onto it. In 1940, now all grown up, the brothers won the Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers and had their names properly etched onto its chalice.
And here's where that story goes awry: Lynn and Muzz and the rest of the Rangers took turns pissing on the cup. They probably had their reasons. Don't judge.
The Stanley Cup has been dropped into and fished out of swimming pools. It has been dropped into a bonfire, used to baptize babies, and brought into showers so players could bathe with it. Dogs have eaten out of it. One guy slept with it and probably rubbed his junk all over it.
And so did Hayden Panettiere.
By 2008, all pretenses of respect for the cup were dropped when Kris Draper of the Detroit Red Wings sat his baby son in it and the kid shit all over it. Kris drank from it later that day.
Like I said -- that trophy has seen some shit, man.