USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Team’
Folk speech
general
Proverbs

Dance Proverb

My informant SS is a 20-year-old girl of Jewish descent. She is very passionate about dance and participated on a dance team all throughout high school. In this piece, she describes a common saying to me (AK) that her dance coach attempted to instill in the minds of each girl on the team.

SS: From dance team we had the saying of: “Early is on time and on time is late.”

AK: So does this just mean you always had to be early?

SS: Kind of. At first it was annoying, but I got used to it pretty quickly.

AK: Does it have any significance to you or does it still apply to your life today?

SS: Definitely. It really sticks with me now. It’s a good life skill and saying I guess.

I found this proverb to be quite applicable to pretty much every facet of life. For me, this proverb is most applicable to things from my everyday life. For important events like interviews and tests, it is very easy to find the motivation to be on time because a lot is dependent on the event itself. However, for things like class and other day to day tasks, it is way harder to have the motivation to always be on time. For this reason, I try to abide by this proverb. It is certainly very difficult, but just the mindset of needing to be early allows me to show up on time. In a way, I still am “late”, but just this shift in mindset allows me to be traditionally “on time”.

Gestures
Kinesthetic
Rituals, festivals, holidays

The Beaver Call

In high school on the baseball team, we had this pregame ritual … and we did this thing and it changes from year to year, um, um, on what it’s called. But, usually it’s called the Beaver Call.

We get in a circle behind the dugout and we do this… well my senior year, we tried to change it to the rat call for this guy, “Rat”, and uh.. there are talks of my brother being in the middle next year and they’d call it the Budde Call (pronounced like booty call).

But basically you just jump up and down like idiots and do this chant.

It goes:

Beaver 1, Beaver All

Let’s all do the Beaver Call

(makes noise with mouth)

Beaver 2, Beaver 3

Let’s all climb the Beaver Tree

(mimes climbing a tree)

Beaver 4, Beaver 5

Let’s all do the Beaver Jive

(dances)

Beaver  6, Beaver 7

Let’s all go to Beaver Heaven

(points up, dances more)

Beaver 8, Beaver 9

Stop! It’s  BEAVER TIME!

(freaks out, dances/jumps crazily)

Was the Beaver your school mascot?

No.

Why did you do this?

Tradition. It was just like every year we did it- it’s a pregame warmup. And it hypes you up for the game.

How long has it been a part of your team?

No idea… well beyond my knowledge.

How do you learn it?

Just from older guys on the team before it. Just Varsity does it. So, sort of yeah, a rite of passage.

 

Context: 

I asked my friend to tell me if he had any baseball rituals because I knew he played in high school. This was the only one he had, but he let me record him doing it while he got ready for a formal event, which I thought was very funny. It was supposed to be a one on one collection, but his roommate, a separate informant, was in the room and interjected that he had also done the Beaver Call except at his camp.

Thoughts:

Sports rituals, especially ones that are only for the Varsity team or older players, also seem to be rites of passage. I wouldn’t be surprised if kids on the JV and freshman teams also know the Beaver Call but know not to do it until they are in that inner group and have the honor to dance about.

Also, it was interesting how perfectly he remembered it and told it without embarrassment.

 

 

 

Customs

Don’t Step on the Symbol

My informant does some work in the sports media field, which basically means he gets to interview players after the game in the locker room.  On of the teams he has interviewed is the Chicago Blackhawks, and he says that in their locker room, there is a big Blackhawk head on the middle of the floor.  It’s the team emblem.  You are not allowed to step on it, and the players ask all the media people not to step on it either.  Anyone who steps on it “gets a major razz from the players.”  During the playoffs, there are a lot of media people in the locker room, and some of these people don’t know the tradition because they don’t regularly come for interviews.  During these busy weeks, the team goes so far as to rope off the Blackhawk emblem to make sure that no one steps on it.  It’s not necessarily bad luck, but it’s just something you aren’t supposed to do.

A similar tradition is observed in the USC Trojan Marching Band.  There is a big emblem of the band trojan head on the floor in the band office by the front door, and you are not supposed to step on it.  If someone (usually a freshman) steps on it, everyone in the band office will turn to that person and yell at them, and say stuff like “Don’t step on the trojan!” and yell obscenities at the offender.  Like with the Blackhawks, it isn’t really bad luck, it’s just something you aren’t supposed to do.

My high school back home had a similar tradition but with a twist.  In the front entrance to Lake Forest High School, there is a big Compass-Rose-like star in the main hallway, right by the front doors.  I’m not entirely sure, but I think this was a gift from a graduating senior class.  When new freshmen come to the school, all the older kids tell the freshmen that this is the Senior Star, and that no one except seniors are allowed to walk across it.  And they say that any non-senior who violates this rule will get beaten up.  The reality is that nobody gives a shit about walking across the senior star.  In fact, given how big the star is compared to the rest of the hallway and the given the amount of students who walk through it in between classes, it would be pretty hard for everyone to avoid it.  But the reason they tell this to freshmen is just to see how long it takes them to figure out that indeed nobody gives a shit who walks across it.  Nevertheless, the fact that this faux rule exists proves that “Don’t Step on the Symbol” is a somewhat universal concept.

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