Big Green Sports Traditions
A closer look into the traditions of several Big Green teams
Before every game, each player of the team has a unique set of rituals. Some rituals involve napping, drinking coffee or listening to a set playlist.
Forward Alex Jasiek ’19 finds his ritual a bit different from a majority of the guys on his team.
“I know individually, a lot of guys take one or even two naps, depending on if it is a school day or not, to get rested up for the game,” Jasiek said. “Personally, I’m the opposite; I’ll drink a coffee or two and watch The Office or Netflix before games.”
Rookie Matt Baker ’21, like Jasiek, has a cup of coffee before every game, but also finds that music and preparing his equipment for the game helps him get in the zone.
“I know for one, I tape my stick in the exact same spot every game and I try to listen to the same playlist,” Baker said. “I know there’s plenty more, but I’m sure it’s pretty similar for a lot of the other guys [on the team] as well.”
The team also likes to have a little fun together and pump themselves up before hitting the ice through a game called sewer ball, which often gets heated.
“Before each game, we have this tradition we like to call ‘sewer’ or ‘sewer ball’ that the majority of the team will play,” Jasiek said. “We circle around and try to keep [a] soccer ball up as long as possible, and if you fail to keep it up you lose a life. [Each person gets] two lives and [it is] every man for himself.”
Game Time Hype Song
Every year, the team will pick a song to walk out on the ice to before games. The song stays the same for the entire season.
“I know my freshman year [the song] was ‘How We Do’ by [The Game featuring] 50 Cent and this year [the song] was ‘T.N.T’ by AC/DC,” Jasiek said. “We like to get into it.”
Home Game Against Princeton University
This game is popular among students because of Dartmouth’s tradition of throwing tennis balls onto the ice after the first Big Green goal. The “tennis ball tradition” stems from a single Tiger’s fan who threw a tennis ball at a Dartmouth goalie after Princeton scored its first goal of the game, allegedly in the late 1990s. At the next game, Dartmouth fans retaliated by bombarding the Tigers after Dartmouth’s first goal, solidifying the Dartmouth tradition.
Jasiek says that this is his favorite tradition that the men’s hockey team is a part of.
“It probably sounds cliché and might be everyone’s favorite, but it is truly something special,” Jasiek said. “When we walk out to a capacity crowd, even before warm-ups start, it is such an unbelievable feeling, and you can really feel the energy in the building.”
For Jasiek, the Princeton game is a true spectacle that is hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t experienced it.
“When that first goal is scored and you see what seems like a snow storm of tennis balls raining down on the Tigers, you can’t help but just stop in your tracks and take it all in,” Jasiek said. “It’s loud, it’s exciting and it gives us the energy to keep going. It’s awesome to see so many fans support us and keep that tradition going that always garners the attention around the League.”
This past January, Baker scored the first goal of the team’s home game against Princeton, assisted by Corey Kalk ’18 and Jasiek, triggering a cascade of tennis balls onto the ice.
“It was a surreal experience,” Baker said. “When you come out [onto the ice] for warm-ups, the student section is packed, and then finally when we start the game it’s pretty crazy, especially when we get that first goal.”
A Different Kind of Orientation
With the arrival of a new class of skiers, the team does freshman pick-ups where the entire team goes to breakfast at “The Fort” prior to classes.
“We go to the freshman’s dorm and offer them flair to wear, telling them they have a practice they forgot to go to,” nordic skier Lauren Jortberg ’20 said. “This was the first year that we did a sunrise hike of Gile and got breakfast after, and I think it’s a new tradition that we are looking to keep. It was a beautiful sunrise and a fun activity to do after.”
One of the primary ways that the team tries to establish relationships with each other is through participating in cabin night. On these nights, the team often cooks dinner together before playing games and learning more about their fellow teammates.
“We rented [the Class of ‘66 Lodge] and it was super fun,” Jortberg said. “My freshman fall, we went up to the Grant, and last year was a really good way for us to get to know our teammates better since things at Dartmouth get pretty crazy.”
One of the biggest races of the year for the Dartmouth Ski team is Winter Carnival. As it is the only home competition of the season, the team fully embraces the event with the men and women dying their hair green and pink, respectively.
“All the women have some type of pink in their hair: the freshmen dye their whole hair pink and the upperclassmen dye their tips,” alpine skier Stephanie Currie ’20 said. “Other teams will see that and say, ‘Look at their pink hair.’ The guys in the past dyed their hair green and in a mohawk — it’s very uniting.”
Although it’s always a sad occasion to say goodbye to the senior class, the Dartmouth Nordic and alpine teams make it a habit to send the upperclassmen off with one final parting gift.
“[Women’s head coach John Dwyer] gives the seniors who are graduating a send-off gift, a belt buckle with a snowflake on it, and it’s the women’s Nordic and alpine tradition to give the seniors a bracelet with a snowflake on it,” Currie said.
D for Defense
One of the most common traditions for the defensive squad is to pay homage to Dartmouth by touching the Dartmouth D in the end zone.
“When we enter on the field, we all go and touch the D at the end of the end zone, and if we’re playing at home, we usually touch the D in the middle of the field,” defensive lineman Jackson Perry ’19 said. “It’s just kind of respect for Dartmouth and ‘D for Defense,’ as our coach would say.”
Who’s Got the Juice
While the participants in this tradition are usually the players, at times Dartmouth’s Football coaches partake as well. Based on one of defensive coordinator Don Dobes’s mottos of “Bringing the Juice” and started by the original Juice-Man, Jeff Winthrop ’15, many members of the team will join in the “Juice Check” before each game.
“Led by the team’s Juice-Man, you’ll see us huddle up and we’ll jump around and we’ll yell ‘Juice. Juice. Juice. Juice.’” Perry said. “That’s kind of just, like, our energy meter to keep us going.”
As the Backs Go Tearing By
Of all the traditions done by the football team, the greatest tradition happens after each win. In addition to singing the Alma Mater, when the team pulls out a victory over their competitors they often sing revamped versions of the Dartmouth songs “As the Backs Go Tearing By” and “Glory to Dartmouth”:
“As the backs go tearing by
On their way to do or die
Many sighs and many cheers
Mingle with the Harvard tears
As the backs go tearing by.
Glory to Dartmouth
Loyal, we sing
Now, all together
Make the echoes ring for Dartmouth.
Our team’s a winner
We’ve got the stuff
We wear the Dartmouth Green
And that’s enough!
Dartmouth, Dartmouth, Green!”
Once finished, the team completes the tradition by counting up to however many points the team scored during the game.
The women’s volleyball team is hard to miss on and off the court, with their high energy and love for chanting and dancing.
“As a team, we have a little pregame tradition right before we go out, within the last five minutes of warm-ups,” co-captain Zoe Leonard ’19 said. “We go into the locker room, we get in a circle and we have a little chant that we recite.”
The coaches are not in the room with them for this part of their pregame pump-up and it is only done when they play at home.
“The one line in [the chant] that really resonates is, ‘Will we ever quit?’ and then everyone screams, ‘No!’” Leonard said.
Once the team gets on the court, the fun and cheering doesn’t end. According to outside hitter Mallen Bischoff ’21, the cheering continues on the court and even after lift.
Game Style Essentials
Leonard and Bischoff, much like their teammate, have their own pre-game rituals, which largely center around clothing items.
“I personally always wear the same ribbons in my hair that I’ve been wearing since freshman year,” Leonard said.
Bischoff added that the team is very superstitious.
“[For each game], I [don’t] have to wear the same socks, but the specific brand of socks,” Bischoff said.
The team also has a plaque with a paragraph on it that they recite after their final game planning session with the coaches.
“It has [the word] commitment; it’s one of the Dartmouth virtues that a bunch of athletes would recognize,” Bischoff said. “However, afterwards we recite [the words on the plaque], and then as we leave for warm-ups, we all slap it,” Bischoff said.
Off the court, the team “bequests,” or passes down, items from seniors to other team members at the end of each season.
Leonard finds that bequesting items is a fun tradition that keeps cool items within the Dartmouth volleyball family.
“[For example], we had a penguin in our locker room that we’ve had for like, nine years, and he’s like our little mascot,” she said.
Bischoff added that the stories behind many of the bequests are really interesting.
“It’s weird; I just got a pair of shorts from one of the seniors on our team, and it was, like, a bequest she got from a swimmer [from the Class of 2015],” Bischoff said.
One of the most popular team traditions for Dartmouth baseball involves preparing the team’s mindset for games by listening to music.
“Over spring trip, we are away in Florida or California, and we travel to the field in separate vans,” co-captain Dustin Shirley ’18 said. “Each van goes through their own traditions based on the music and vibes of the individuals. If we are competing within the Ivy League, then we’ll bring a speaker to the back of the bus and some players will listen to personal music. So a lot of it revolves around music.”
Although baseball is very much a team sport, in every game there is one player from each team that plays his very best and deserves recognition. Dartmouth baseball’s newest tradition certainly embodies this mentality.
“There’s a beaver, like a stuffed animal, that we pass around after we win a game, and we’ll pass it to the player who played best,” Shirley said. “We’ll get into a huddle and coach [Bob Whalen] will tell us what we did right and wrong, then we’ll nominate who we think deserves [the beaver].”