The 9 Weirdest Traditions In Sports

Feeling superstitious? Try growing a beard, throwing some toast, and peeing on the pitch.

Feeling superstitious? Try growing a beard, throwing some toast, and peeing on the pitch. 

(Photo by Mark  Thompson/Allsport)

Barry Fry’s Peeing Ritual

In an attempt to cure his team’s witch doctor curse—because there’s so many of those going around in the West Midlands of England—former Birmingham City manager Barry Fry pissed in all four corners of the pitch to try and turn the team’s fortunes around. He may not have had a great record while leading the “Blues,” but if there was one way for him to leave his mark with the club, we’d say taking his dick out and spraying his pee all over the field was a good way to do it.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty)

The Red Wings’ Iced Calamari

The bizarre tradition of hurling octopi onto the ice at Detroit Red Wings games began in 1952, when brothers Pete and Jerry Cusimano tossed the eight-legged cephalopods onto the ice to represent the eight wins it used to take an NHL team to win the Stanley Cup. Why you’d want to uphold this tradition is anyone’s guess, but if you do, it’s actually more complicated than just catching yourself some sweet squid: The most popular store that sells the damn things actually provides an “Octoquette,” which is a pamphlet outlining unwritten rules about tossing it onto the ice. These rules include boiling it for a half hour to stop it sticking to the ice, and not throwing it at players or refs. All of which kind of takes the fun out of it.

(Photo by Tommy Leonardi/ University of Pennsylvania)

Penn’s Toast-Throwing

Penn isn’t really known as a football powerhouse (despite billing themselves as “college football’s most historic program”) but thanks to their Ivy League-educated fans having a full-on food fight between the third and fourth quarters at each home game, they take their place on our list. The song in which they “toast” each other (Drink a Highball) is actually supposed to be done with alcohol, as the words clearly state, but thanks to every college stadium being prudes and not allowing booze, the tradition of throwing grilled bread began so they could still technically “toast” the guy. Oh college kids, you so crazy!

(Photo by J. Meric/Getty )

The Rally Cap

When the ‘77 and ’78 Texas Rangers first took their caps off to help “rally-up” their teammates to come from behind in games, who knew they’d start such a phenomenon? The Rally Cap rose to national prominence during the 1986 World Series between the Mets and Red Sox, when TV cameras showed New York players wearing the hats in the dugout to help spark a rally. If the Bill Buckner gaffe later in the game is any indication, it seemed to work out pretty well for them.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/ Getty)

Playoff Beards

The belief that growing one’s whiskers out actually increases the chances of winning a championship began with the NHL’s New York Islanders from 1980-83, when the team lifted the Stanley Cup four years in a row. Since then, if there’s a title to be won, most athletes are pulling the Grizzly Adams look in fear that they be the player who ruins the magical run. Now, beards are cool and all, but why not make a pledge to just have ‘stashes as a good luck charm instead? Chances are, your opponents will be laughing too hard at you to play their best.

Notre Dame’s “Play Like a Champion Today” Sign

If you’ve paid attention to Notre Dame football over the past 20 years, you’ll know that this sign isn’t terribly effective. Although, maybe they’re making a distinction between “playing like a champion” and actually, y’know, winning? Either way, the slogan’s been associated with the football program since the 1800s, but the sign only became a staple for players to touch in the 80’s thanks to former head coach Lou Holtz, who wanted to pay homage to the school’s commitment to excellence. Love it or hate it, it’s become one of the biggest motivational quotes ever.

(Photo by Sara Wolfram/Getty)

Charging The Mound

Most of us sports fans know the unwritten rule of baseball: If a player on your team gets hit by a pitch, that player’s pitcher gets to retaliate with a blow to the other team’s batter. And once that happens, shit gets crazy. It’s unclear exactly when and where the tradition started, but it’s assumed it happened early on when a cranky pitcher just had to let off some steam. Though some fights can get crazy, they usually just consist of a bunch of guys sprinting to the mound to hold back teammates from slapping like little girls. It’s part of the game, but fights on a baseball field always seem to end in a no-hitter—with no one ever getting a hit to the face.

(Photo by John Sleezer/Getty)

The Post-Win Gatorade Shower

Picking up a bucket of flavored water and tossing it all over your coach is, for some players, the highlight of winning a game. The tradition began in the mid-80’s – some claim it was started by the Bears in ’84, but others insist its enduring popularity comes from the Giants, who showered coach Bill Parcells 17 times in 1986. Though it’s typically reserved for just football coaches, we’ve seen the cliché celebration find its way into baseball and even basketball over recent years, which begs the question – is it worth throwing a game just to not get covered in that crap?  

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Shaving Cream Pie in the Face

Most commonly seen in baseball after a walk-off hit, there’s no better way to show your appreciation for a teammate coming through in the clutch than by smacking them in the face with a mountain of shaving cream. The tradition’s origin is somewhat murky, but former Yanks hurler A.J. Burnett is the player most associated with popularizing it, having been the main culprit of pieing teammates in the face during postgame interviews. It’s stretched to more than just walk-off hits recently, though, as guys have been nailed for coming-up big in their major league debuts, and even, on some embarrassing occasions, causing players to get put on the injured list

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