The Viking Clap

Barbaric Vikings of centuries ago left their mark on cultures everywhere. One winning tradition has trickled down through history, and that is the Viking chant. Once used to excite brutal fighters, it now excites fans of the Catholic High Rockets. With its ear shattering drum beat followed by claps, does it have a deeper meaning?

The promoter of this new-found tradition is Mr. Steve Aday. He said, “I got the idea from an article that commented on a tweet by Chris Fowler, the ESPN sports news analyst. He tweeted and said it would be very cool if college student sections did this ‘Iceland rhythmic clap’ type of thing. I had never heard of it, so I watched the attached videos from the Iceland soccer team’s fans doing the chant at a game and at the team’s return home. It’s exactly what I told the skit cheerleaders to do for their first skit. I said ‘forget college football sections, we’re bringing this to Catholic High!’ We copied it from Iceland, but answered Chris Fowler’s call.”

The skit cheerleaders lead by senior Duncan Diaz explained the Viking chant, and the whole school performed it at the first pep-rally. A signal blast from senior Daniel Witherall’s trombone would tell the student section to stand and raise their hands. Then, junior Ruben Mandujano’s two drum beats signaled a clap. Drum, drum, clap. Drum, drum, clap. Faster and faster until the air fills with shouts and claps.

Mr. Aday planned it so that the skit cheerleaders would dress and act as if they were doing a skit, then they would bring out a drummer and teach the skit as a new tradition. Skit cheerleader senior Josh Neuman said, “I would describe it as a way for fans to really get into the game. It gets everyone standing up and paying attention. It gets them really focused into what is really happening in the game and brings them back together.”

Mr. Aday sees the Viking chant as a unifier. He said, “This is the type of thing that people can realize ‘this is something that no one else does.’ Everyone wants to have a cheer that is new, fun, and unique, and I feel this one will catch on.”

Upon the second pep-rally, a new pair of drummers had the chance to beat the drum. The duo was senior Nathan Baltz and sophomore Elijah Talley. Talley, a cancer patient who recently underwent a round of chemotherapy, said, “It meant a lot to me to be out there. Being a part of a tradition at Catholic High is a really amazing thing. It was awesome to see how much of a brotherhood Catholic High is, and it made me feel really grateful to be part of this school. It’s great to know that no matter how long I’m away for treatment, I’ll always be welcomed back by my teachers and classmates. My family and I are really thankful that the school community has been so supportive and helpful, especially when we’re going through difficult times.”

He was proud to stand next to Baltz who also experienced cancer treatment two years ago. Talley surprised Baltz by calling him out to beat the drum alongside him. Talley said, “I feel really lucky to know Nathan because I look up to him a lot. I insisted that I could not lead the chant without him out there with me.”

Neuman said, “I’ve seen how amazing and loud the Viking chant is at the football games and pep rallies, but when Elijah and Nathan were in the middle of the basketball court leading us, I saw how the chant can be even more powerful–powerful enough to give students a special moment in like this their lives. These are the types of traditions that truly matter.”

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