GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE ITEM:
- Customary Folklore – Tradition
- Language: English
- Country of origin: United States
- Informant: Derek Willson
- Date Collected: 11/10/19
- Derek Paul Willson is an active member of the Dartmouth Men’s Ultimate Frisbee B Team, known by its name, Discomfort Trolly; commonly known as Disco Troll. He is a member of the class of 2022, and he has been playing frisbee since his freshman fall at Dartmouth in 2018. Born on December 17, 2000, he is from Skylerville, NY. His favorite frisbee throwing technique is the hammer throw.
- The program cheer is a cheer that players across all teams know. This is taught to the rookies at the end of their first year at the program banquet and performed when the program is together at mixed games and tournaments. Additionally it is performed before big games on individuals teams (i.e. men’s and women’s). There are several rules for performing the program cheer, including requirements that one must either have their hat off or be wearing it backwards and a requirement that everyone must be holding the same frisbee while the cheer is performed. The program cheer is also a secret, known only to the members of the frisbee team.
- This ritual was documented in a one-on-one interview in Novack. This item of folklore brings the whole program together because it is unique to frisbee. Unlike ultimate frisbee sideline cheers, which often vary across teams, the program cheer is something the entire program knows. Additionally, it fosters a sense of community within class years because, other than one night a year for banquet, one is only permitted to to discuss the cheer with students in your class year. If a class is unable to memorize and piece together the program cheer during the school year, they must wait until banquet to speak to upperclassmen about it.
- Program Cheer
- “Ok so the Program Cheer, we only really talk about it at Program Banquet at the end of the year unless you’re with other people of your class year. During it you’re supposed to have the program disc, have your hat off or backwards and have one thumb on the disc and if there’s too many people you have to touch someone who’s touching it [the disc]. It’s always funny with first years or rookies because they don’t know any of it cause you only really learn it at banquet unless somehow some other rookie knows it. You kinda just like AAAAAAA [screams] through the whole thing because you have no idea what it is. That’s always a funny thing.”
- “It’s something that brings classes closer together because you can only talk about the words of it with members of your own class”
- This cheer is standard in many ways but has a few particular points that make it unique. The fact that freshmen are not allowed to know the lyrics until the Banquet their freshman year makes this cheer an initiation ritual. Specifically, learning the cheer could be described as a rite of transition or incorporation – making the switch from a partial to a full fledged team member.
- Because the cheer is known and performed only by upperclassmen, it holds an exclusionary aspect. Only once a team member is granted the privilege and knowledge for the cheer does the member achieve full status as a frisbee team player. Prior to the rookies learning it, they are told to scream and yell whenever it is performed so they are unable to learn it throughout the year.
- Because the cheer is a secret, we were not able to document the words to it. However, even though we are unable to record the cheer itself, we can still analyze the context in which it is performed and the social and cultural dynamics around its performance, which we have done here. The surrounding dynamics of the cheer are very informative to frisbee culture despite the fact that we cannot know the cheer itself.
- There is not really any pattern or meaning to the nonsensical cheer/noise made by those who do not know the cheer lyrics. The only purposes of the noise made is to contribute to the overall volume and intensity of the cheer as well as make it harder to hear the actual cheer lyrics to prevent outsiders from learning the words
- Luke Cuomo and Annett Gawerc