Thursday, March 4, 2010
Big Ten game-day traditions: Minnesota
By ESPN.com staff
The traditions series marches on with Minnesota. Although the Gophers have gone 33 years without a Big Ten championship, Minnesota remains one of the league's most tradition-rich programs.
A quarter-century in the Metrodome didn't help Minnesota's game-day atmosphere, but a new chapter of traditions has started at TCF Bank Stadium, and I got a taste of the atmosphere for a piece back in September.
Northwestern is up next, but let's take a look at Minnesota's top game-day traditions:
- Victory Walk: A fairly new tradition I got to experience firsthand in September, Minnesota players and coaches walk from the alumni center to TCF Bank Stadium as the band and hundreds of fans line the path to greet them.
- Spin Your Head: Minnesota fans love their mascot, Goldy, and during games fans will chant "Spin your head!" Goldy always obliges, delighting the crowd.
- Minnesota Rouser: One of the oldest and more famous fight songs in the Big Ten, the Rouser reaches a crescendo as fans spell out M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A.
- Wearing maroon for Iowa game: Minnesota's colors are maroon and gold, but when the Gophers host hated rival Iowa, fans dress only in maroon to not get confused with Hawkeye gold. One group of fans will start the chant, "Who hates Iowa?" and be answered by, "We hate Iowa."
- The Battle Hymn of the Republic: A staple of the pregame show, the Minnesota marching band plays the "Battle Hymn" in its trademark swinging gates formation.
- Hail! Minnesota: After every game, the players and coaches gather in front of the student section to sing the state hymn and university alma mater, "Hail!" Minnesota."
- Ski-U-Mah chant: The famous phrase is more than 110 years old and incorporates "Ski," a Sioux battle cry for victory, with "U-Mah," representing the university. It appears in both Hail! Minnesota and the Minnesota Rouser, and is chanted at games.
- Trophy Games: Almost every FBS school has a trophy game or two, but Minnesota has four: the Little Brown Jug (Michigan), the Floyd of Rosedale (Iowa), Paul Bunyan's Axe (Wisconsin) and the Governor's Victory Bell (Penn State). Odds are, if you attend a Big Ten home game in Minneapolis, some hardware will be at stake.
Taylen from San Francisco: Hey Adam, never sent in before, but for something as important as showing school pride with gameday traditions I had to "show up!" Gopher Gameday traditions include Goldy's signature "Spin Your Head" (and body and tail), Who Hates Iowa (We Hate Iowa) cheer no matter who the opponent is, all the players and coaches gathering at the student section for "Hail Minnesota" after the game, the marching band's pregame show on the concourse and field, all the fans wearing maroon to the Iowa game (so as not to confuse our Gold with that disgusting yellow), Minn-Knee-So-Ta cheer from the four corners of the crowd, and I'm sure there are more with TCF that I haven't even witnessed yet now that I'm on the West coast! (However, I don't approve of the new name forced on the student section - The Vault...I get that it's clever, think bank, but nicknames shouldn't be forced, they're earned!) Thanks for keeping me in the B10 loop every day!
Sam from Minneapolis: With the new stadium comes new traditions and here are just a couple that are awesome:Victory Walk - Two hours before kickoff, the players march from the alumni center to the stadium along with the marching band and cheerleaders in an awesome sort of mini parade. All the while surrounded by a less-than-lucid sea of maroon and gold. Trophy Games - Ugghhh. This makes my heart heavy since it's been a while since we've won one. But we've got some great trophy games against Wisconsin (Paul Bunyun's Axe), Michigan (Little Brown Jug), and Iowa (Floyd of Rosedale). I'll throw the Governor's Victory Bell in there too (Penn St.), but that takes a back seat to the other three. Also, Spin Your Head - Goldy is the best mascot in the Big Ten hands down. Watch him interact with students and fans, and invariably the chant "Spin your head!" will start. He does it (awesomely) and everyone goes wild.
Craig from Duluth, Minn.: Adam:Unfortunately, Minnesota does not a lot of great football traditions like the "dotting of the i" at OSU. However, one of the things I have always loved was the "swinging gates" formation and playing of the Battle Hymn of the Republic while presenting the colors before each game. It's a classy way to present the colors. The newer "Victory Walk" into TCF Bank Stadium may develop into a nice tradition in time, but after only one year it isn't old enough to qualify yet.I'm looking forward to reading about the other traditions around the Big Ten.Thank you!