Sure, Chicago has plenty of things you’ll only find right here—from the tamale man to Shit Fountain. And when it comes to Chicago sports, there’s no exception to these quirks. We have die-hard celebrity fans like Bill Murray, we celebrate with the Bucket Boys after a win and we even have fireworks shows after White Sox games. When you have such passionate fans, it's no surprise that weird traditions and rituals arise. Here are seven sports rituals you can expect to see the next time you head to one of these outings in Chicago.
1. “Go, Cubs, Go” song
If you grew up watching the Cubs, then you know every word to this masterpiece written in 1984 by Steve Goodman. It was so catchy it became the Cubs’ official victory song. Goodman was known as a lifelong Cubs fan and also wrote a not-so-nice song about the lovable losers before “Go, Cubs, Go,” but it was banned from Wrigley Field. Probably because it referred to the team as the “doormat of the National League” and the field as an “ivy-covered burial ground.” Ouch.
2. Rally caps
While this tradition may have started with the New York Mets, Cubs fans take this good luck strategy seriously. When the Cubs are down in the 8th or 9th, you’ll see every serious Cubs fan, including old folks and babies, flip their caps inside-out and pray for a come-from-behind victory.
3. The “W” flag
What does a big, bold “W” have to do with the Cubs? It’s our victory flag. You’ll see it in the window of every Wrigleyville apartment and storefront. After the Cubs win, look up above the scoreboard and you’ll see a white flag waving in the breeze with a big old “W” on it.
4. The Bears time-out routine
When you head to Soldier Field, don’t be surprised when fans ask about every time-out they take. When they call a time-out and you hear this, you’ll know true fans surround you.
“There’s a time-out.”
“On the field.”
5. “Chelsea Dagger”
As much as I don’t like to admit this, the Fratellis song is not exclusively for the Chicago Blackhawks. In fact, the Blackhawks’ executive producer heard it first while watching a Celtic soccer match. The Scottish rock band’s 2006 song skyrocketed to popularity, as did the Blackhawks, when they won the Stanley Cup in 2010. When the Blackhawks became champions the entire city lost it and even today you still can’t go to a sports bar without hearing “da-da da, da-da da…”
6. Getting loud during the national anthem
If you’re going to a Blackhawks game, be prepared to lose your voice. When we sing the national anthem, we clap, holler and cheer getting louder and louder until it's over. Between the scream-singing of “Chelsea Dagger” and cheering for your team it’ll be a miracle if you make it out without a sore throat.
7. The bucket boys outside United Center
When you walk out after a Bulls or Blackhawks game, don’t be surprised if it feels like you’re in the middle of a drum performance. The bucket boys in Chicago are street performers who bang out lively beats on 5 gallon buckets with drumsticks. You’ll find them all over the South Side and in the Loop.