Frog defined | Baptism
by Frog | Frog
20 years after the tradition got started, calls still come ... "What
is that curled-up-fingers thing people are doing?"
by Nancy Bartosek
happens at the end of every football game: as the first note of the Alma
Mater rings out, fans rise and hands go up, fingers curled just so and
waving regally. It's the sign of the Frog, a hand sign tradition that
dates back to 1980.
head cheerleader Chad Schrotel '82 and others decided a hand signal for
the Frogs would be a great way to show solidarity and promote Frog spirit.
They settled on the curled fingers salute, at left, because the protruding
knuckles resembled the horns on a frog. (Other stories suggest the curled
finger sign emanated from the hand position one uses to "frog" someone
with a quick jab to the arm or leg.)
It took a
while to catch on. They taught it to the incoming freshmen at Orientation,
they flashed it at alumni gatherings and they got the Wranglers, a now-defunct
spirit group, to wave it en masse at the games.
It was good
timing. SuperFrog made a grand entrance that year and the basketball team
adopted the Killer Frog moniker. While not the oldest mascot hand sign
in the nation, it now is part of the Frog tradition that includes "Riff
Ram Bah Zoo," which numbers among the oldest cheers in the nation.
A side note
about college traditions: During the 1930 football game between TCU and
Texas A&M, one spirited Aggie began to holler "Gig 'em Aggies,"
using a common frog hunting term. While the call stuck, it didn't help
that year . . . the Frogs won, 3-0. Interestingly enough, the introduction
of the UT horns hand sign also corresponded with a TCU game in 1955. Again,
the Frogs won, 47-20.