S.S is one of my suitemates. We were also friends in high school. She was born in the states but moved to Taiwan for school. Her family is Taiwanese. As an individual, she is really interested in sports, and recently, while in college, she has also become really interested in Christianity. While participating in these many things, she has experienced many traditions that are expressed as folklore.
One of the traditions she has experienced is a Cross-Country one that is known and conducted by her high school’s cross-country team. S.S explained to me that every year, a sleepover would be held at the cross-country coaches’ house. The seniors of the team would have the freshmen dress up in a costume that the coach would have. Some of the costumes would be like an attire of a farmer, clown, or even a witch. The freshman would then participate in a scavenger hunt. They would need to collect things from the neighbors at night, for example a paper or an egg. Pot luck would also be included, and all the member of the team would need to wake up at 5am the next morning to drink a “disgusting” protein shake, and after, they would run for about two hours.
S.S particularly enjoyed this tradition because this it would help the teammates bond. In her personal experience, when S.S did it when she was a freshman, the confusion and the new environment actually made it fun for her. For the scavenger hunt part of the tradition, the point of it was team work and it was like team goal that they needed to accomplish.
In this tradition, there are of lot of events, from dressing up to running really early in the morning. And with all that’s happening in this particular tradition, I would assume the main focus is bonding, like what S.S said. This tradition is done yearly to let the teammates become closure, and in a sense, having the seniors accepting the freshmen as part of the team.
Personally, I also think that the main focus of this tradition is bonding within the team. This tradition brings in an aspect that’s missing from the sport itself, cross-country, into the tradition. I may be wrong, but in my opinion, cross-country doesn’t really rely on teamwork, but going through this tradition, they would learn more about teamwork and be closure as a team. In addition, I would think that this tradition would be a liminal point for the freshman, as the seniors are now officially acknowledging the freshmen as part of the team.