The Gametime Circle
In the town of Eagle, Idaho, there is a deep history, but perhaps the most famous tradition is done by the local high school basketball team. This pre-game ritual known throughout the town as the “Gametime Circle” is so famous that many fans will arrive at the game five minutes early just to be able to watch it. The tradition has been performed exclusively by the Eagle High basketball team ever since the school opened in 1995. The details of how to accurately perform the circle are carefully passed down from captains to captains over the years, creating a kind of “family” feeling between the current Eagle High players and alumni. This is perhaps reason for the most remarkable aspect about it- despite constant changes to players and personalities over the past 14 years, the ritual has remained largely unchanged.
In 2008, I was lucky enough to be elected a co-captain of the team, enabling me to learn the precice details of the tradition of the ritual from the 2007 captains. Though I had seen it performed during my younger years as I would attend the Eagle games, it was still more complicated than I thought. The ritual, consisting of the entire team laying in a circle after the starting five are announced, someone saying a quick prayer, and then everyone rapidly pounding the floor with their palms, was taken very seriously by all that had had performed the act before me. It not only intimidated the other teams and made their pregame look boring, but it gives the Eagle players, fans, and students a sense of unity.
As a captain in 2008, I was obligated to pass down the blueprints of the ritual to this years captains, seniors. In a telephone interview, assured me that his team has kept the ritual alive and well, stating “In 14 years, (the ritual) has barely changed even though the teams and players have all changed. I would have horrible karma if I changed it up too much or didn’t demand that it was performed with perfection every single game....