Dear Kid,

In the song Tradition! from Fiddler on the Roof someone asks the rabbi if there is a prayer for the Tsar. “Yes,” the rabbi replies, “May the Lord bless and keep the Tsar–far away from us.” (Video provided for your viewing enjoyment–5:55 if you want to skip right to the relevant quote.) That’s sort of how I felt before last night’s football game.
The pundits favored our opponents and unfortunately for us, they were quite correct. It was not a pretty game. On the plus side, Pi kicked her First Ever High School Field Goal, so that is pretty exciting.

I got thinking about football traditions, college football traditions to be more precise. Not surprisingly, there are lots and lots of fabulous football traditions.

There are countless examples (because I didn’t count) of touching a sign or symbol for luck before the game. Or of entering the stadium to smoke, following a cheerleader packed car, or after various mascots. There is, of course, the famous tradition of dotting the “i” in Ohio (three cheers for the sousaphone player! Did you know that there have been guest “i” dotters? Not many, but a few.).

The traditions I like the best are the ones that are a bit unexpected.

Florida State has the Sod Cemetery. Since 1962, the Seminoles have always brought back a piece of turf from their opponent’s field to be buried in the cemetery. The “Sod Games” are any game in which Florida State is considered the underdog, matchups against in-state rival Florida, conference championships, and bowl games.

At every Penn home game, Quakers fans throw toast onto the field after the end of the third quarter. The tradition was started back in the 1970s when alcohol was banned from the stadium. The fans now use it as a way to “toast” the team. Ha.

The “M” above the end zone at the Missouri stadium is made of thousands of whitewashed rocks. Every year before the first Tigers home game, incoming freshmen take part in cleaning the “M”.

Every Monday of a game week, Notre Dame’s football helmets are repainted (and the gold paint includes flecks of real gold—I wonder how much Chipotle you can buy with a gold helmet?).

A newer tradition is Hawaii’s Haka. It was introduced in 2006 and I have no words to describe it. Two videos provided in lieu of words.

See you in a couple of hours! (Yippee!) My first ever college crew regatta–double yippee!

Love, Mom