Oberlin Sports Teams Hold Traditions Close to Their Hearts


Courtesy of Ruby Schreiber

Second-year field hockey players Ruby Schreiber and Susan Robinson-Cloete smile at Teamsgiving, a yearly tradition on the team.

Traditions have always been a big part of team bonding at Oberlin. From formals to game day rituals, unique traditions bring the teams closer together. This week the Review asked College varsity and club sport team members, “What is a tradition for your team?” This is what they had to say.


Fall Sports


Volleyball: Each year, the volleyball team throws a fall formal called Volley Ball. Teammates bring a date, dress up, and take pictures just as if it were a school ball. In addition to this major team event, third-year Lucy Myers described a smaller-scale tradition: whenever the team goes to away games, each athlete is paired with a “psych buddy” during the trip. Before getting onto the bus they give each other a gift such as a note or a snack, or as Myers puts it, “something to hype them up.”


Cross country: Third-year Chase Sortor described an  event where teammates anonymously submit a crazy story from their life, to be read while roasting marshmallows over the fire for s’mores. While one person reads a story aloud, the rest of the group must try to match the story to the teammate. “It’s confusing, and you learn insane stuff about people, such as riding their bike naked,” Sortor said. “It’s a fun one.”


Football: Big Brother/Little Brother is a tradition that second-year Jack Diskin adores. At the beginning of the season, each teammate is assigned a big or little brother. “When one guy gets knocked down, we are there to help them up, and it teaches us to appreciate the relationships we have within our team,” Diskin said. “It allows us to be vulnerable with someone else, which is hard for football players to do, and that alone helps strengthen our bond, making it easier to trust one another on and off the field.”


Field hockey: Second-year Ruby Schreiber’s favorite field hockey tradition is Teamsgiving, which takes place right before fall break at the end of the field hockey season. Teamsgiving is a potluck where teammates and coaches bring a dish they enjoy cooking and hand out paper plate awards to the team based on inside jokes they’ve formed over the season. “The food is really good. I know we have some good chefs on our team,” Schreiber said. More importantly, it’s her favorite tradition because it’s the last time all her teammates and coaches are together as a team for the season. 


Soccer: The women’s and men’s soccer teams have a tight bond — in the past, they’ve thrown a wedding, a prom, and a dress-up-as-decades night together. Fourth-year Belle Smith’s favorite tradition is prom, which happens in the spring. Athletes on the men’s and women’s teams put on their favorite formal attire or go thrifting to find an outfit. To Smith, it reaffirms athletes’ love of soccer during the offseason. “It’s like getting back together and bonding over soccer again,” she said. “Everyone who quit is still invited to come.”


Winter Sports


Basketball: One of the first tasks second-year Jaedyn O’Reilly was assigned during her first season on the team was to read The Hard Hat: 21 Ways to be a Great Teammate by Jon Gordon. Each week during the season, one teammate is awarded the hard hat, which is a white hard hat that acts as a canvas for students to write on.“Whoever gets the hard hat [that week] adds a word or phrase that explains why the next person deserves it,” said O’Reilly. “By the end of the season, the hard hat is covered with different ways our team have been good teammates to each other.”

The men’s basketball team, on the other hand, sticks with traditions on game day. Ten minutes before tipoff, the team huddles together to discuss and finalize their game plan. All day before going on the court, they wear their team tracksuits. “We all love game day,” said second-year Adel Dibael. “Wearing our sacred track suits on game day makes us feel very special and a part of something bigger.” 


Swim and dive: This year’s swim and dive Friendsgiving was done before conferences instead of over fall break. Friendsgiving, similar to field hockey’s Teamsgiving, is a team-wide potluck dinner that happens each year at Swim House. Second-year Anika Kennedy explained that each teammate must bring either an appetizer, an entrée, or a dessert to the event. 


Spring Sports



Each year, the men’s and women’s tennis teams celebrate Halloween together. “One of the most memorable years was when half of us dressed up as Average Joe’s and the other half as Globo Gym, the two rival teams in the movie Dodgeball,” recalled fourth-year James Dill. A smaller tradition Dill mentioned was the memorable quotes written throughout the years on the locker room chalkboard. “One of my favorite items is a drawing of a wizard, who is described as being ‘ashamed of his squib (non-magical) son.’”


Lacrosse: As explained by second-years Maya Blevins, Kaela Wilson, and Aidan Loh, each year the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams come together for a country-themed wedding. Everyone dresses up for the occasion, and teammates are assigned to characters — a bride and groom, ring bearers, bridesmaids, a maid of honor, a best man, the congregation, and, of course, an officiator. There is even a wedding cake at the end to celebrate the marriage.


Baseball: One nickname the baseball team calls itself is “The Mules.” Why mules? Because mules can’t breed. “Our team is known to have been very bad in the past,” said second-year Jay Aghanya. Apparently, many years ago, a coach from a school in the NCAC conference said that Oberlin’s baseball team was “so bad that they shouldn’t be able to reproduce.” The team now makes a joke of it. “We would say we’re the mules so we don’t have any bad generations in the future,” said Aghanya.


Softball: Before each game, the team huddles in a circle around some members in the middle to do the Yeo Baby cheer: “Can I get a yeo? Can I get a yeo baby? Can I get a yeo baby yeo baby yeo!” “It’s the thing that gets us hyped up for the game, gets us into a good headspace, and hopefully intimidates the opponent a little bit,” said third-year Kathyrn Beeman.


Track and field: Similar to softball, the track and field team also does the Yeo Baby cheer during their meets. “Every other [competing] team hates us for it,” second-year Jon Dromlewicz said. With a large team, the cheer can become extremely loud when there are groups of Obies scattered around the track. Dromlewicz clarified that Yeo Baby is usually done during relays and finals toward the end of the race as a final encouragement to those competing. 


Club Sports


Rugby: “We have a special naming process for the rookies each semester… we always have to call each other by our nicknames or you have to do a push-up,” said second-year Gillian Shin. For the Rhinos, the women and trans rugby team on campus, each teammate is given a nickname when they first join. How they come up with the names is very secretive, but nicknames are unanimously agreed upon by the team. 


Frisbee: A yearly tradition between the Preying Manti and the Flying Horsecows is Flat Crawl. Second-year Alea Strasser explained that in Flat Crawl, two people are tied to each other to compete in two- or three-legged races from one house to the next, and the first group that gets to the last house wins the game. “It helps form friendships between the teams,” Strasser said. At this year’s Flat Crawl, Strasser and her friend won second place.