College Sports Traditions

Picking Up Butch, Silent Night, and Hundreds of Others

By (author) Stan Beck, Jack Wilkinson

Hardback - £39.00

Publication date:

19 September 2013

Length of book:

436 pages


Scarecrow Press

ISBN-13: 9780810891203

Every year since 1961, football and basketball players at Middlebury College in Vermont pick up their wheelchair-bound fan, Butch, and bring him to the stadium sidelines to watch their games. At John Brown University, the volleyball team distributes candy to fans before each match. For years, fans attending a University of Maryland football game rubbed the bronze statue of their terrapin mascot, Testudo. Traditions like these are visible statements of school loyalty, and they are part of why college sports are unforgettable.

College Sports Traditions: Picking Up Butch, Silent Night, and Hundreds of Others details not only the well-known traditions of major universities, but also the obscure customs of smaller schools. Approximately 1,200 traditions are captured, covering almost every college sport. It depicts such traditions as The Ohio State University’s “Script Ohio,” University of Kansas’s “Waving the Wheat,” Linfield College’s “End Zone Couches,” and even a list of traditions that involve streaking. The wide variety of traditions covered in this book are grouped thematically, including:

  • Before the game
  • During the game
  • After a score
  • After the game
  • Mascot traditions
  • Preseason traditions
  • Traditions probably not university sanctioned
  • Rivalries
  • Yells, cheers, and chants

From the crazy and eccentric to the touching and meaningful, these traditions connect fans and athletes across generations. The first of its kind, this comprehensive volume encompasses hundreds of universities and colleges throughout the U.S. Featuring 75 photos that bring many of these events to life,
College Sports Traditions will be an entertaining read for every sports fan.
As defined by Beck, an expert on college sports customs, and writer Wilkinson (100 Things Braves Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die), a tradition is an action with a start and a finish that continues over a period of years. Approximately 1,200 such practices covering almost every college sport and including well-known conventions at major universities and obscure ones at smaller schools are depicted in rousing fashion by the authors, both longtime sports fans and journalists. Traditions before, during, and after games, as well some involving nicknames, mascots, and music, capture the excitement, originality, and pageantry of intercollegiate athletics. The authors begin each of the 11 chapters with a short expose of a practice that is representative of that chapter’s theme and continue with shorter descriptions of traditions at other colleges. The chapter on yells, cheers, and chants, which concludes the title, is one of the most interesting. Photographs, tables, and a detailed index complement the text. Covering subjects that range from the eccentric and outlandish to the touching and meaningful, the book captures the spirit and importance of college sport rituals and campus culture. VERDICT A work that is entertaining, fresh, and fun to browse. Not only sports fans but also anyone who enjoys tidbits about college life will find it hard to put down.