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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Football

New tradition and more unveiled at Cage Rage


Spirit of Houston performed at Cage Rage and played the classic UH fight songs for the crowd. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

Last year, Cage Rage was cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey, but the annual preseason pep rally returned better than ever.

Before the gates opened, a large crowd gathered around the entrance. While waiting, fans could play sports-themed carnival games, take pictures with the mascots and get free towels.

Once the gates opened, students filed into their seats in the student sections as the new DJ for home games, DJ T. Gray, sat at the top playing music to hype up the crowd. T. Gray is also the DJ for the Houston Rockets and Houston Dynamo.

Before the event started, one section was already full, and the surrounding sections quickly filled up. After a few songs from the band and a little goading from the host, those congregated rallied with renewed energy.

The microphone passed hands from UH President Renu Khator to head coach Major Applewhite and members of the football team before headliners Paul Wall and Lil Keke came out to perform. After the concert, a water balloon fight commenced on the field.

Following the signature “Womp Womp” song that had all fans in attendance with their hands in air,  the vice president of athletics Chris Pezman punctuated the night.

“Imagine 40,000 people doing that when Arizona rolls out here to get their ass beat,” Pezman said.

While Cage Rage accomplished its job of filling the crowd with energy, there was something important revealed at the event.

A new tradition has been created for right before kickoff. The crowd will perform a chant led by a different celebrity each game. The chant goes, “This is our house. This is our city. We are Houston strong. You are now in the cage.”

The cheerleaders will have the words displayed as the celebrity prompts when to say each word. The first chant ever will be led by nine-time gold medalist and current UH assistant track coach Carl Lewis. The chant makes its debut against Arizona on Sept. 8.

Cage Rage ended with a bang, a fireworks display lighting up the sky over campus and the rest of the city that UH calls home.

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