Ritual – University of Southern California

Arvo Lee, as one of the many thousands of USC students and fans, kicks the flagpole on the walk on the way to the Coliseum. One is supposed to kick the flagpole every single time one is walking to the Coliseum to watch a football game. Thus, it is a ritual that has been going on for many years. Kicking the flagpole is supposed to bring us luck; it is supposed to ensure a Trojan victory. Arvo does it because he says it is all in the name of good spirit. He learned it by watching other people- other USC students and fans who have gone to football games at the Coliseum before, and walk by the flagpole every time- do it. He realized that people did it for luck, so he mimicked them to keep the ritual/tradition going.

As a USC student, I also kick the flagpole on the way to the game. I agree with Arvo that the point of kicking the flagpole is for good luck. It is supposed to help us win the football game of the day. Everyone does it in the name of good fun; I do not think anyone thinks kicking the flagpole is a true factor in whether or not we win the game. People just do it unconsciously. They only do it because other students and fans do it. If they had not seen other people do it, it would have never occurred to them to kick the flagpole for luck.

This ritual says that we, as a society, learn by mimicking. We begin kicking the flagpole, and someone says it is for good luck, and soon thereafter we have a whole mass of students and fans that follow suit. At first, I did not even know why I was kicking the flagpole, but since everyone else was doing it, I did it too. This ritual also says that we, as a society, are creatures of habit. Now I do not even have to try to remember to kick the flagpole, I have done it so much now I just do it automatically. Some people might think after many times kicking the flagpole that it is pointless, but they will probably keep doing it out of habit and tradition.