If anyone has ever been to a Mason men’s basketball game, they would know that it seems like it’s raining tiny pieces of paper. As a freshman last season, or any fan for that matter, I was extremely confused as to why the student section would be throwing all this up in the air. However, I quickly learned that this was something I couldn’t wait to participate in for the next four years.

It’s one of our many rituals as die-hard Mason basketball fans. Throwing paper is just as much a tradition as the “Larranaga chant” or the “suck-on-that” saying after we knock down two free throws or complete an and-one.

As students, we must wonder if these rituals and traditions actually improve our basketball teams’ winning percentage. I think in this case all I need to say is 23-5 with a 13-game winning streak (the longest in the country), No. 1 in the conference, and we’ll be dancing soon enough. Plain and simple, it works, and it works well.

Prior to every game multiple members of the Patriot Platoon spend their pre-game ritual ripping up the basketball program. Students know that these rips can’t just be done in any way that they like. Programs must first be ripped into many vertical strips, and then those strips must be ripped horizontally to make tiny squares of confetti.

It is also very important, as a student, to know when to throw these pieces of paper. This is almost as important as knowing that there is no repetition of saying “whhaatt” in the GMU fight song. (If I can go off on a tangent for a second, I’d just like to tell Patriot fans that during the fight song on the 2nd time we say “GMU” we do not repeat saying “what.”)

These pieces are thrown only when a three pointer is made or if a dunk is thrown down by one of our own.

Students must be sure to plan out how much paper they need to rip. Let’s say that Mason has four dunks and eight 3 pointers in a game. And we’ll assume that students throw about 10 pieces of paper, per celebration.

This means that there must be at least 120 pieces of paper ripped before each and every game! That’s a TON of ripping to do before each game. As the season has progressed, I could tell that students were less and less enthused with ripping up pieces before each game.

I noticed that groups of fans would have designated “paper rippers” for each game. That way not just one person would be stuck ripping for the entire section.

Regardless of who is ripping each game, fans will always be throwing those tiny pieces of paper up in the air to enhance each celebration.

So, before you get ready to watch Mason’s next game, be sure to remember to get ripping.