Much like Wittenberg University, many of its athletic teams are rich in tradition. From countless pregame chants and wearing eye-black like war paint to having cookouts with other teams, it’s hard to go anywhere on campus and not witness a Tiger tradition.
After cheering on the Wittenberg Tigers for a season or two, you will start to notice different traditions that each program does when preparing to play their next opponent. These things may be done during practice or before and after the teams play, but these traditions have been passed down throughout the program’s history.
If you’re near Edwards-Maurer Field and hear thunderous chants coming from the stadium, don’t panic because that is just one of the many ways that the Tigers show their opponents that they’re a force to be reckoned with: through chants that display their attitudes and energy. “Tigers, tigers, rah, rah, rah, let’s go Witt!” To the women’s lacrosse team, this chant is known as the Ripsaw, and has been used as a pre-game pump-up for as long as players can remember. If you hear “Wittenberg is wonderful, oh, Wittenberg is wonderful, we are going to kick (opponent name’s) butt,” followed by chants and echoes of “red, red,” then this is the women’s soccer program letting everyone know that they are ready to win another game.
Before every men’s lacrosse game, the team comes together for a prayer, showing how thankful they are to have the opportunity to play another game as a unit. With faces covered in eye-black, almost as if they were a character from the movie “Braveheart,” the team leaves everything out on the field in hopes of achieving victory. Once you hear the Old Crowe version of “Wagon Wheel.” then you know the war paint worked because it has been a tradition for the team to listen to this song when celebrating a big win.
“She’s from Tennessee, she’s long and she’s tall, she came down from Birmingham on the Wabash Cannonball.” These iconic lyrics come from the 1966 Johnny Cash song titled, “Wabash Cannonball.” You can hear this song blaring from the speakers at Edwards-Maurer Field on repeat for an entire week as the Wittenberg Football Team prepares to play their NCAC rivals, the Little Giants from Wabash College. You can hear the sound of bagpipes coming from the stadium as the team prepares to play NCAC opponents including the Fighting Scots from The College of Wooster. These traditions are two of the oldest on Wittenberg’s campus.
However, some of Wittenberg’s athletic teams have traditions that are a bit more unique to their program. Every year, before the start of fall ball, the baseball and softball teams come together to have a “Barbecue Bash.” At this bash, the teams split up and have a friendly game of backyard softball. Once the game is over, the teams join forces to have a cookout as a final celebration before they start training for the coming season.
For being a small liberal arts university, Wittenberg is a place that is rich with tradition and history. No matter who you are, if you spend a little time watching the Tiger’s athletic programs compete, then you will be certain to see one of these countless traditions in action.