Kicking the Flag Post Before USC Football Games

“It’s for good luck. Right? You’re supposed to kick the flag post for good luck. The old ones had dents in them and people thought they put them—but they were manufactured that way. They had the dents in them. So, you know, it was an interesting thing… I kick it once in a while, but I don’t venture to believe it, but a lot of people do, they’ll kick the flag post on the way to a game.”


The informant first learned of this tradition when going to football games as an undergraduate. The informant lamented that nowadays, USC’s traditions are not carried out with the vigor he remembers from his time as an undergrad. He said he has also experienced also a drop in formality in carrying out those traditions at sporting events and at other times. Now that he has returned as an alumnus, he has noticed a change in the students.

I find it fascinating that people who are not traditionally superstitious will participate in a ritual such as this one even without knowing or having any reason for why they do it. Luck seems almost threatening in that large groups of people here have altered their behavior to protect themselves from the off chance that their not participating works against their favor. The ritual becomes the luck itself.