A halftime show is a performance given during halftime, the period between the first and second halves, or the second and third quarters, of a sporting event. Halftime shows are not given for sports with an irregular or indeterminate number of divisions (such as baseball or boxing), or for sports that do not have an extended period of stoppage in play. Ice hockey games consist of three periods, so there are in effect two halftimes at a hockey game: the first intermission is between the first and second periods, and the second intermission comes between the second and third periods. The intermissions are usually given over to contests involving randomly-selected audience members.
The invention of the halftime show is generally credited to Walter Lingo. Lingo was the owner of a dog kennel and sponsored an all-Native American football team, the Oorang Indians, to tour the country and promote the kennel. In addition to playing football, the Indians would provide various forms of entertainment, including exhibiting the dogs, players demonstrating their prowess (Nick Lassa once wrestled a bear while Jim Thorpe would kick long-distance field goals), dancing, and demonstrations of native culture. Although the halftime show was in part designed to bring an additional draw to mask the fact that the Indians did not put much effort into the actual game, his halftime show was mostly the same from game to game, and the novelty wore off after two years.
A modern halftime show can consist of cheerleading performances, majorette routines, marching bands playing music, or other spectacle performances. Halftime shows are particularly well known among historically black colleges and universities, which have elaborate "battles of the bands" between the opposing schools' marching bands during halftimes of the most prominent games (see, for instance, the Bayou Classic). More common in modern times, especially in major games, is to reserve the entire halftime period for a short concert by a major recording artist.
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“Whoso taketh in hand to frame any state or government ought to presuppose that all men are evil, and at occasions will show themselves so to be.”
—Sir Walter Raleigh (15521618)