As the ball slips past the fingers of the flailing goalie and sinks deep into the net of the goal, the players jump in exhilaration, the crowd screams with a deafening roar and the sky erupts with—tortillas.
Anyone who has been to a UC Santa Barbara soccer game is fully aware of our unique and, quite frankly, magnificent tradition of throwing tortillas when our team scores a goal. We hold this custom very close to our hearts, as it represents not only an intense school spirit but also a representation of the original Gauchos who directly inspired our school’s mascot.
One of the best aspects of tortilla-throwing is the excitement that comes with it. It adds an atmosphere of elation that envelops the entire stadium and brings the Gauchos to a new high.
Yianni Magoulias, a second year classics major and a Gaucho Loco, said, “It gets the crowd going. Each school has their own thing; each country has their own thing. It’s part of our tradition.”
This is UCSB pride at its best. As if the crowd isn’t wild enough when a goal is scored, adding dozens of flying tortillas into the equation creates an even higher level of excitement and fervor to the roaring, jumping crowds. Sure, we can show our support through the cheers the Gaucho Locos start and that none of the freshmen can keep up with. Yes, we can clap our hands and stomp our feet and scream at the top of our lungs in support of our soccer team. But no, the Gauchos have taken school spirit to another level. When a goal is scored, tortilla packages are frantically ripped open, and there is suddenly a stadium filled with airborne tortillas that fly as far as Frisbees over the ecstatic, out-of-breath players.
“It’s great because the players expect it, and they know they’re getting support. It brings fun and spirit to the games, and it was never meant negatively,” said Anna Revolinsky, a fourth-year electrical engineering major and a Gaucho Loco since her second year.
Not only do the soaring tortillas increase the crowd’s intensity, but it pumps up the players’ attitudes too. If anyone knows how to support a soccer team, it’s the Gauchos. We are Gauchos ‘til we die!
Revolinsky went on to explain, “Tortillas represent the Argentinian Cowboys, the Gauchos. It’s a feeling of who the Gauchos are, and that’s who we always try to be. We prove how loyal we are.”
This is the whole point, people. We don’t throw tortillas to make a mess that people have to pick up or to hit people in the heads with them (although this may sometimes be a side effect of our enthusiasm). We don’t throw tortillas to offend anyone or to be obnoxious. This is how we represent our school and our loyalty to UCSB’s awesome soccer team. We throw them to make a statement: we’re damn proud to be Gauchos, and yeah, we just scored on your ass.