“Before a USC football game, when walking from the campus to the Coliseum, it is good luck to kick the bases of the flagpoles at the intersection of Trousdale Parkway and Exposition Boulevard.”
My informant first heard of this superstition when walking to the first Trojans home game of the 2005 season. He had been to a Trojans football game before, but only with his parents, and they did not pass the intersection of Trousdale and Exposition. On this particular day, he was walking with a few friends, and on their way to the Coliseum they noticed that everyone was kicking the flagpoles at the intersection. So they joined in and gave the flagpoles a kick. My informant didn’t need to ask, and easily figured out this was a traditional practice for good luck.
This tradition is shared by every fan wearing cardinal and gold that passes by that intersection. My informant suggested that a long time ago, a Trojan fan gave a swift kick to the flagpole, and the football team preformed well and decimated their opponent. From then on, they probably continued to kick the flagpole before every game and others began to join in. While this may not be the official history of the superstition, it is likely that it was under these or similar circumstances that the superstition came about.
While many superstitions are believed to affect one’s own luck and fortune, this one is believed to influence the performance of a sports team. So if a fan passed through the intersection without kicking a flagpole, and the Trojans lost, that fan could be considered liable for that day’s loss. On the other hand, this is an instance where fans can unite and believe that they actually did something to help their team.