USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘game day’
Rituals, festivals, holidays

USC Trojan Knights Cheer


Southern! Califorrrrnia!

Fight On!


Interviewer: What is being performed?


Informant: A Cheer by Rafael Souza. The Hammer Drop, one person yells and the others join and spell out Southern California.


Interviewer: What is the background information about the performance? Why do you know or like this piece? Where or who did you learn it from?


Informant: It is a game day ritual for USC Trojan Knights.


Interviewer: What country and what region of that country are you from?


Informant: USC Traditions


Interviewer: Do you belong to a specific religious or social sub group that tells this story?


Informant: Trojan Knights


Interviewer: Where did you first hear the story?


Informant: When I went to my first game day


Interviewer: What do you think the origins of this story might be?


Informant: Spirited USC students probably


Interviewer: What does it mean to you?


Informant: A lot as a new knight


Context of the performance- classmate interview


Thoughts about the piece- Trojan Knights are a USC service and spirit organization founded in 1921. See  to learn about other TK traditions including Tommy Watch, Card Stunts and the Victory Bell. As a USC freshman, I don’t know many details about the mysterious TK fraternity type club but appreciate their traditions that enhance school spirit, especially during football season.


USC game days – kicking the flagpole

During any game day, while walking to the Coliseum, Trojan football fans (anyone who’s rooting for USC) kick the bases of the flagpoles at the end of Trousdale for good luck during the game.

On the way to the Coliseum (USC’s football stadium), it’s common to see fans passing into the stadium park to kick the flagpoles. The informant, as a marching band member, was told from the first game on to kick the pole as the band marched by, but other USC students find out from student friends or USC alumni at the games.

I spoke to my informant during an on-campus event.

It doesn’t appear that there is any real rational behind the practice? Maybe it’s like the theater practice of “breaking a leg” or the general saying “knock on wood,” with the caveat that since not all USC Trojan football fans are USC students or alumni, the flagpoles are a universally-recognized symbol that all fans can engage with.