Shortly after the informant’s winter recess ended and her spring semester began, she made several remarks on how Hawaiian habits with regard to traffic and pedestrian behavior were different and even more relaxed than Californian relations on the road.
Informant: “In Hawaii, most people do not wave at the cars like I remember you doing after they let you cross.”
Collector: “Why is that?”
Informant: “It would seem very unusual to them. Most people do the Shaka sign to thank the drive and to send them on a good path.”
Collector: “Does that come from surf culture?”
Informant: “No, it’s from Hawaiian culture. It’s supposed to let others know Aloha Spirit, and lets people know a sense of gratitude.”
Hand signals hold a unique identity in any region where they are popular. It is interesting to see how in some cultures that hand signals can have opposite meanings, which can sometimes be offensive. The Shaka seems to defy that commonality, though, and seems to be a peaceful and relaxed expression wherever a person is. The motion seems to have a much more important impact in Hawaii, though, and seems to express a lot in everyday use.
My informant stated that after his previous American coach had left, his soccer team received a new British coach that added a new ritual at the end of a game win or lose.
My informant states:
“My senior year of high school, we got a new head coach who was British. He did a lot of stuff differently than any coach I ever had. One thing that he specifically made us do was line up as a team and run the field width wise to thank every one who came to support us after the game was over. It was simply to show our gratitude to the people who came out to watch us play. I had never done anything like this with any of my previous American coaches, so it was very interesting that this was so important to my English coach. He said it was important that we thanked our fans as they came out to watch us even if we lost or won and to remember who we were playing for. This really struck me as an important ritual after, because I remember some games were not even worth watching. As a captain, my senior year, I reiterated this ritual to the younger players on my team, who had also never done such a thing. What is also interesting is that in the English Premier Leagues and even the German Bundesliga Leagues, some of the teams do a similar thing.”
My informant stated that he believed this ritual showed the difference between American and European cultures. He stated that in England, he believes that soccer is considered a gentleman’s sport, thus the players should act classy and such. He also stated that support is very important in England and that the fans break or make the team.
My analysis of this is that it was a important ritual to the coach, that he spread and wanted to continually spread throughout his regime as a coach. The fact that my informant bought in showed how important this was to both the coach and the players. It was also interestingly a ritual that became important to the players that it even hindered the game experience as my informant states that he hated to do it when he lost, thus this pushed the players to try and win.