You may have heard the thunderous applauses every once in a while during meal times. The clapping and cheering occurs whenever someone drops a piece of dishware, loudly in the middle of Hamilton Commons. Once it hits the ground, people sitting in Saga might begin clapping, cheering and sometimes they might even give a standing ovation.
Not everyone participates however. Some have rolled their eyes, others have yelled out for it to stop, some just choose to ignore the noise.
“It’s more of a football thing, not a lot of people do it if they’re not associated in some type of athletics,” said Nahuel Juarez (‘21). “It’s something that people started before us that’s been carried on.”
According to Juarez, the tradition began many years ago when the football team started cheering for their teammates who had dropped something.
Some students feel that the clapping should only occur depending on the type of person who dropped the dish. “If I know the person who dropped something, I [clap]. I know my buddies, so I mess with them because I know they know it’s just a joke,” said Cam Ramirez (‘20). “I can see it bothering people, like upsetting them, that’s why I only clap for the people I know.”
Recently, some of campus has taken to social media to discuss the controversy over the tradition. They felt as though the cheering can be dangerous to students who have social anxiety.
“I dread walking my dishes to the back in fear of dropping something. I would most definitely be one of those people to freak out,” wrote Kara Denike (‘20) on a Facebook status.
Social anxiety includes fear of being judged by others, feelings of not being good enough, and high levels of embarrassment around large groups of people. “I’m not diagnosed with any anxiety disorder but I’m close with enough people to imagine how it feels,” said Bridget McCaffrey (‘21). “In a moment like that, all you hope is that no one noticed what happened and that you’d just be able to move on, but instead a whole cafeteria of people you’ve never met [have clapped] for a mistake you made. It makes the person feel like [dropping a dish] is so important and impactful that the whole room [needed] to point it out.”
Others disagree. They feel as though the situation is a light-hearted, meaningless joke that shouldn’t be taken so seriously. This is where the question of ‘should the tradition continue?’ lies.
“I understand people get embarrassed, but I feel like if you can’t handle clapping over a cup being dropped in Saga, life will hit you pretty hard,” said Juarez. “I do somewhat see how people think it’s rude though.”
Some wonder if a compromise will be made between the two viewpoints, whether that be to keep the clapping strictly between groups of friends and teammates, or something more, while others argue to keep the tradition going to honor the Alumni who began it.
“Some do it to be rude and others do it just to poke fun at their friends,” said Ramirez. “There’s two sides to every story.”