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Very Superstitious

Anthony Corrin, Junior Staff Writer

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Athletes are admired for many reasons–they work and train hard, and perform well under pressure.  It’s surprising then, for fans to recognize that these admirable athletic giants also exhibit a vulnerable side, manifested through particular superstitions.  As American songwriter Stevie Wonder wrote: “Very superstitious/ Writing’s on the wall/ Very superstitious/ Ladder’s about to fall.” But many prominent athletes have superstitions or rituals that are much weirder than avoiding a walk under a ladder. Are you familiar with some of these?

According to Men’s Fitness article online, “While leading the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships during his legendary career, the five-time MVP wore his University of North Carolina shorts under his uniform in every game. Jordan led UNC to the NCAA Championships in 1982 and believed the mesh marvels brought him luck. In order to cover his lucky pair, Jordan began wearing longer shorts, which inspired a trend in the NBA.”  So this example presents an interesting ritual of Michael Jordan’s and tells the tale of the background behind a basketball trend. Interesting, right?

How about one just a tad bit stranger?  According to the same source, tennis pro Serena Williams exhibits some ingrained rituals, “ [Serena’s] quirks include bringing her shower sandals to the court, tying her shoelaces a specific way and bouncing the ball five times before her first serve and twice before her second. The three-time Wimbledon champ will even wear the same pair of socks during a tournament run…” It appears that repetition is a key factor in Williams’ bizarre rituals.

Still more are mentioned: Red Sox Hall-of-Famer Wade Boggs eats chicken before every game; UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida’s drinks his own urine daily.  Now would that be self-torture or just an extremely bizarre superstition? The list goes on and on. And even though Sports Illustrated is the most famous sports magazine in the world, according to sources, many athletes believe that if their team appears on the cover of this rag, then their team will most certainly lose.

Superstitions can be found in high school athletes as well. Senior softball player, Sydney Newell states, “I pray to the dinger gods before each game.” Dinger gods???  It’s hard to tell if this praying helps Newell’s team or not, but if it gets this softball player in the right mindset, who’s complaining? Senior football player Cam Johnson remarks, “I play every game with my lucky underwear on.”  Exactly what this lucky underwear looks like was not revealed, but Johnson isn’t the first high school athlete to believe in “lucky” clothes.

No one can say whether superstitions are real or not. The key is this: if the superstition or ritual is real in the athlete’s head, then it is a powerful motivator for him or her. There’s no harm in going through a pre-game ritual, and just as Stevie Wonder sang, those superstitions and rituals “Keep me in a daydream/ Keep me going strong.”

 

Sources:

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-strangest-pre-game-rituals-2011-8

https://www.mensfitness.com/life/sports/10-most-superstitious-athletes

https://genius.com/Stevie-wonder-superstition-lyrics

 

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Very Superstitious