The dominant New York Islanders teams of the 1980s started the tradition of not shaving throughout the duration of the team’s postseason run. The practice is now copied by hockey teams at almost every level of the sport and even by athletes in other sports. The tradition isn’t for everyone though. In 2003, Adam Oates refused to join his Stanley Cup runner-up Anaheim Mighty Ducks in growing a playoff beard, noting that the supposed superstition works only for one of the 16 teams that make the postseason each year.
Take me out
One story claims a college coach invented the seventh-inning stretch custom in 1882 when he noticed fans' restlessness late in a game and ordered them to stand and stretch. Another tale claims that then- President William Howard Taft stood to stretch during a Washington Senators game in 1910 and, upon seeing the country's leader stand, the rest of the crowd did so too. One thing we do know for certain: "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was written and added to the mix in 1908.
While the exact origin of the Gatorade bath is disputed, it started in the mid-1980s, most likely with the Bill Parcells-coached New York Giants who went on to win the Super Bowl. Sadly, the seemingly harmless tradition has been listed as a potential contributing factor to a death. Legendary pro and college coach George Allen died of ventricular fibrillation in 1990, just six weeks after being doused in Gatorade in chilly weather. Shortly before his death, Allen said he was not feeling healthy following the incident.
Victorious NCAA hoops teams have been trimming the nets off rims since 1947, when North Carolina State coach Everett Case decided the nets would make a fine souvenir for his team's Southern Conference championship. Nowadays, coaches and players ascend a ladder to snip off their portion.
Another college basketball tradition
Silent Night: An evangelical college in Indiana has one of the most original traditions in college basketball. One night every year, the crowd remains dead silent until the team scores a certain point, then erupts in cheers as if they just won the national championship.
The All England Lawn and Tennis Club's strict rules require competitors to wear "almost entirely white" when they play. Search back through the photo archives and you'll see all-white-clad players in action back at the turn of the 19th century. Slight accents of colors are allowed, but the strict policy has created plenty of controversy in this fashion-crazed sport.
A recent tradition, started in 1995, allows each player from the winning NHL team to spend one day with the revered Stanley Cup trophy in private. Some players take it to far away places; others enjoy a drink or eat food out of it; some have even used it to baptize their children. In 2007, the cup made a trip to Afghanistan, where a group of former players shared it with Canadian soldiers.
Sports' most famous blazer has been formally awarded to the Masters champion since 1949, and was unofficially bestowed for years before that. The jacket has long been the official attire of members of the Augusta National Golf Club, where the Masters is held, and champions of the event are made honorary members.
Winners of the Indianpolis 500 have been drinking milk in victory lane since 1936, thanks to driver Louis Meyer who, after winning that year, requested a bottle of buttermilk and took a big swig for the cameras as he'd done the previous three years.