Monday, March 8, 2010
Big Ten game-day traditions: Indiana
The game-day traditions series wraps up with Indiana. Although it took a few attempts to get some suggestions from Hoosiers fans, there are a few good items here.
We all know IU has really struggled in football, particularly the past 20 years. But Terry Hoeppner began to change the culture in Bloomington, especially on game day. In 2007, Bill Lynch led Indiana to its first bowl appearance in 14 years, and last fall IU had the nation's third-largest attendance increase from 2008. So things appear to be improving.
Let's take a look at some Hoosier traditions:
- The Walk/PowerPlay! One of two traditions started by Hoeppner, as players and coaches walk through the tailgating areas to the crimson gates at Memorial Stadium two hours before home games. Indiana's Marching Hundred also performs during The Walk.
- Defend the Rock: Hoeppner used this as a rallying cry to improve Indiana's defense of its home field. Indiana also has a 3-ton limestone boulder on a granite slab placed in the north end of Memorial Stadium, just outside IU's locker room. Before games, players and coaches touch the rock, which serves as a way to honor Hoeppner's memory.
- Sing, Sing, Sing: The 1936 Louis Prima hit is a staple of the band's performance, and the drum line is prominently featured in the song. Each year, a new drum solo is incorporated.
- R-O-C-K In the USA: The Marching Hundred honor Bloomington native John Mellencamp by playing playing his hit at the end of the first quarter. It doesn't hurt that the song references "Rock," the nickname for Memorial Stadium.
- Tailgates: This is a tradition Indiana likely wants to change or at least modify, but the tailgating scene is massive and a ton of fun. The only problem: too many folks spend the day outside the stadium rather than going inside to check out the action.
Jason from Bloomington, Ind.: As for the Hoosiers, there's not a lot to celebrate most saturdays in the fall, but we do still bring it on gameday. While tailgating happens anywhere, I'm not sure you'll find a more off balance ratio of "tailgate intensity v. game interest (or team performance)". Sure, ohio state gets into tailgating, but do they party for the last loss of a 4-8 season? Also, we have 'The Walk', which, based on this blog and the big east blog, seems like every team does to get to the stadium (2 hours pre-game). And, you can't over-look 'The Rock' in the North End Zone - While it is a rather new tradition, I think it also serves as a memorial to Coach Hep. Lost traditions seem to include the cannon fired after the Hoosiers score (absent since the start of North End Zone construction, and now replaced with fireworks), as well as winning - there's no sign of a return to the Rose Bowl anytime soon.