USC Pre-Game Pole Kick

While going to a USC football game, it is tradition to kick the bottom of one of the poles on your way out of the entrance closest to Exposition Boulevard. There is both a light and flag pole that have wide bottoms as you go through the gates towards the coliseum. If you look at them on your way out you will both see and hear the effects of people kicking them as they go to cheer on the football team. It is said to be good luck for the team to kick either pole as you head to the game. At certain times in the season, the bottom guarding will actually break off from all of the kicking, but one of the poles will always be open. There are constant markings from the ware and tear on the pole and well as the ringing that follows the kick. If you do not kick the pole, many students believe the team will have bad luck and lose the game, or get injured. Informant was taught this by other individuals headed to the football games, and by noticing others kicking the pole as they went by.

Context – It is believed if you do not kick the pole, the team will have bad luck! It is unknown exactly what year or who started this tradition at the university but it is a widely accepted and practiced tradition, especially those who attended or currently attend USC. All kinds of people, from kids, adults, women, and men will do this as they head from campus to the coliseum for games.

Analysis – This is a common superstition practice at work. Many teams, schools, or even athletes have superstitious tendencies that help place the results of a game or wager on a “higher power.” This can be explained as a relaxer and a way to handle the stress of an upcoming event that a fan may have little to no control over.