Hand Symbol – University of California, San Diego

Hand Symbol

Danielle Ishihara is a freshman at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).  She says that the hand sign is supposed to symbolize a triton, which is the mascot of UCSD.  The person is supposed to put his/her ring finger down, while the pinky, ring, and index finger are supposed to be spread out to represent the three peaks of the triton. Danielle first learned the triton hand symbol when she went to her first basketball game at UCSD.  Danielle says the triton symbol is usually used at sporting events. She says the hand symbol pretty much looks just like the shocker sign except the index and the ring finger are not touching. Even though it is not the shocker sign, she says people always joke that it is. A popular saying regarding this UCSD hand symbol is “Shock ’em tritons”.  Danielle shared this information when we were home for spring break and our group of friends where sharing information about our respective universities.

Every school, whether it is a high school or a university, seems to have a hand symbol that represents their mascot.  Most commonly, these hand symbols are used at sporting events and are accompanied by a saying which also happens to be a reflection of the school’s mascot.  I think hand symbols related to the school are most commonly used at sporting events because it allows a person to identify and announce their alliance to their school.  It is a way for a person to support their school.  The symbol is recognizable and meaningful among the members of the school; therefore, it is similar to ethnic folklore and occupation folklore, where only members of the group understand the gesture and its meaning and background history.  By knowing what the hand symbol is, one can identify who is truly a member of the school.  Each school’s hand symbol is unique because of its meaning and history, even if the hand gesture looks the same as something else.  UCSD’s hand symbol reminds me of USC’s V-sign created by the index and middle finger with its accompanying phrase “Fight On!”.  These are used at USC events, most often at the sporting events.