If you thought that waving to sick kids was the only pink and fuzzy tradition the University of Iowa Hawkeyes had, you’d be wrong. This next tradition is so pink, it could make your eyes hurt. If you ever get the chance to check out the visitor’s locker room at Kinnick Stadium you will discover that it is pink. The floors are pink, the walls are pink, even the showers and toilets are pink.
The tradition was started by former Iowa head coach Hayden Fry. He had majored in psychology and remembered learning that pink was a calming color. He believed that this could get his team a competitive edge. Many of the visiting teams complained about the color and on several occasions even brought their own wall coverings in order to soften the effect.
Created by Fredrick Plummer in 1884, the Little Red Flag is just a piece of red silk with an olive H in the middle attached to a walking stick, but it has become a symbol of super fan status in the Harvard stands. Plummer himself carried the flag with him to 59 Harvard and Yale games over the years. He believed that the flag was a talisman of good luck.
When he passed away, the honor of carrying the flag was passed down to Spencer Borden, who attended even more Yale games than Plummer. The flag is now in the hands of the tenth in a long life of devoted fans. Bill Markus, who has been carrying it since 2001, can proudly call himself Harvard’s “most loyal fan. He has not seen as many Yale games like the original flag holders but is definitely a dedicated superfan traveling from his home in Pittsburgh to every game.
The University of Texas at Austin
A hello, a goodbye and a cool hand gesture, University of Texas fans have got it all figured out. Hook ‘em horns are meant to reference the shape of UT mascot Texas Longhorn Bevo’s head and horns. You can show your support by extending your index and pinky fingers while holding the second and third fingers with the thumb. Rumor has it that the signal was created by a former Texas head cheerleader after observing friends making shadow puppets on a wall.
The Hook ‘em Horns have also made their mark on popular culture. There is a country rap song by Cowboy Troy by the same name and professional wrestler Stan Hansen uses them as his signature taunt. The symbol can also be turned around and used by rival teams or opposing fans. If you make that horns upside down and with your thumb out, there is no question that you are dissing on their team.
Hailed as the “World’s Largest Drum” and played by the All-American Marching Band of Purdue University, the Big Bass Drum is a fixture at pregame shows and a symbol of the university. No one knows the exact size of the drum, but including the carriage, it is over ten feet tall. It takes four chrome-helmeted bandmembers to move the drum to the beat and two more to actually play it.
The drum was commissioned in 1921 and many strange traditions have pooped up around it over the years. For example, when the Purdue Boilermakers score a touchdown, the drum crew must perform push-ups. The number of push-ups matches the number of points scored so far in the game. Also, while former crew members sign their names on the inside of the drum, celebrities sign the outside. The drum has been signed by President Harry Truman, Neil Armstrong, and Snoop Dogg.
A relatively new but already beloved tradition is the Nebraska Tunnel Walk. The Cornhuskers leave the locker room, touch their lucky horseshoe and walk down a winding path on a red carpet. They are met on their way by hordes of fans, the band, cheerleaders and dance team members. All pumping them up before the game begins. Eventually, they emerge from the tunnel onto the field at Memorial Stadium.
The Tunnel Walk began in 2004, and the first song that played while the team was walking was "Sirius" by Alan Parsons Project. Since then, the fans have shown how much they love this tradition. It seems like football fans in Nebraska are serious about the sport. Memorial Stadium where the team plays, has been sold out for every game since it opened its doors.