A Blog devoted to all things SWC, the greatest college athletic conference. Updated weekly with the SWC Game of the Week during football season. Other relevant SWC News will appear from time to time as well.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

UH Hand Sign

From the UH web site, the origins of the University of Houston hand sign:

In Texas, all of the major universities have adopted a hand sign which signifies to all other Texans where your loyalties lie. The Cougar Hand Sign is no different. Although the original hand sign was the "V" for Victory until 1965, events conspired and a new hand sign was adopted. The inaugural football game between University of Houston and University of Texas during the 1953 campaign witnessed the birth of a blood rivalry between the state's two largest universities at that time. However, it also led to the adoption of another Cougar Hand Sign. During her transport from Houston to Austin, one of the fingers on Shasta's paw was severed when the cage door was closed. As the University of Texas partisans and players caught wind of the accident, they mimicked the animal by bending their thumb over the ring finger against their palm. This gesture implied that the Cougars were invalids. The Cougars would go on to lose the game 28-7.

The cougar faithful, still mindful of the stinging defeat suffered 15 years earlier, never forgot the taunting that they received. The next time the two teams faced off (1968... a whole 15 years later), UH tied UT 20-20. At that point, the students thought there might be a bit of magic in that sign, and the hand sign was adopted replacing the "V".

In 1976, the Cougars first football season in the Southwest Conference, the Coogs & Horns met for the third time ever. The Coogs put a beating on the Longhorns that they have yet to forget 30-0 (a.k.a.the "Dad's Day Massacre") in front of the largest crowd to assemble in Memorial Stadium at that time. That victory ended the Longhorns famed winning streak, and the embarrassment also signaled the end of legendary UT Coach Darryl K. Royal's career. After that victory, the Cougar Hand Sign became firmly entrenched.

*Important Note: Only one hand is to be held aloft when making the Cougar Hand Sign.

I don't think Texas is lining up to play UH today either.

1 comment:

John Anderson said...

Funny, I recall things a little differently. I attended the game in which "UH tied Texas". UH had the ball 1st and goal from the one in that game. After 4 running plays, two of which fullback Paul Gibson, carried the ball a yard deep into the end zone, the refs ruled each play as not crossing the goal, thus allowing the "mighty" Texas' to tie UH. No UH alumn to my knowledge had ever heard of the previous incident mentioned above but the UH handsign began to be used within a few weeks of the "tie". The sign was used to show our disdain for the flagrant mis-ruling on the goal line. It's actually the combination of the UT hand sign and a rather vulgar additional digit.