After traveling with UCA this summer, I have had the opportunity to see some very unique traditions from colleges across the country. Some of them might seem strange to an outsider, but to loyal fans these traditions are part of why they love their schools. The UCA College camp in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the perfect place to watch and learn about two very well known colleges: The Ohio State University and Kansas University.
One of my favorite traditions is the “Rock Chalk” chant performed by the Kansas University cheerleaders. This chant has been a Jay Hawk tradition for over 100 years! At first, the slow monotone words of “Rock Chalk, Jay Hawk” sound like a cult chanting, but then I can picture the entire stadium chanting along and it gives me chills!
Another squad always known for their traditions is The Ohio State University. Their cheerleaders have to be in the BEST shape ever in order to perform the very demanding motions in their fight song. Jumping up and down, leaning almost all of the way backwards and making motions I have never seen super sharp are only part of this incredible fight song. These cheerleaders also have another great crowd leading tradition in their fight song- the O-H-I-O chant. This chant has been around since the late 19th century. The cheerleaders use signs and their arms to spell out the state they love. It sounds simple, but you can’t attend an OSU game without wanting to join in!
The University of Alabama is also known for having great gameday traditions… My personal favorite is the “Rammer Jammer” chant. The band, cheerleaders and loyal fans perform this chant at the end of a game when victory is certain. Traditionally we say it two times through, but if it’s a big win we will say it three or four!
America Needs Cheerleaders with great gameday traditions! If you’re school doesn’t have one, there is no better time than the present to make it happen! Remember, it doesn’t have to be a long chant like KU or Alabama. It can be something simple like spelling out your mascot or school name like OSU. Coordinate something with the band and use signs to help tell the crowd what to yell with you. Getting the crowd up on their feet and yelling is our main purpose as a cheerleader! Good luck to you and your teams because football season is right around the corner!
- Ryan Martin