I am really not a superstitious person at all. I stepped on sidewalk cracks when I was younger. I’ve walked under ladders more times than I can count. A broken mirror doesn’t phase me one bit. A black cat? I lived with one for over a decade.
Sports, however, is a different story when it comes to superstitions and yours truly. Sure, it may be juvenile, but I am very superstitious regarding my favorite sports teams. The fact is, many fans will actually believe in whatever superstition their favorite team or player believes in. Here are some of the most common sports superstitions.
Sports Superstitions #1: The Playoff Beard
Athletes love the playoff beard. Fans love the playoff beard. You’re most likely to see the playoff beard on hockey players but it can occasionally be found in other sports as well. The playoff beard is exactly what it sounds like. Players taking part in the playoffs will not shave until their team is either eliminated from the playoffs or they win the championship. I currently am rocking the playoff beard for my New York football Giants. Hopefully it worked (this will probably be published after the Super Bowl. Go Big Blue!).
Sports Superstitions #2: Clothing
Both athletes and fans can be very superstitious when it comes to clothing on game day. Many fans believe it to be good luck to wear the same shirt for every game, for example. Sometimes athletes will refuse to watch a piece (or pieces) of clothing if the team is on a long winning streak. During the 2008 NFL Playoffs, I wore the same shirt, jersey and jeans during every Giants game. Does this really affect what happens on the field of play? I’d like to think so.
Sports Superstitions #3: Don’t talk during a potential no-hitter or perfect game
Many years ago I was watching a baseball game on TV when my girlfriend at the time entered the room. As always, when the end of the inning occurred, the box score was shown on the screen. It was then that my lady friend noticed that a particular team had yet to get a base hit. For reasons that I cannot comprehend at this time, she then began to actually talk about the no-hitter.
Never. Ever. Do this.
This is one of the oldest superstitions in all of baseball. Fans don’t talk about a no-hitter. Commentators will refuse to say the words “no-hitter” or “perfect game.” This superstition is so serious that when a pitcher has a potential no-hitter going, his teammates will actually refuse to sit next to him so that nobody will talk to the pitcher.
Sports Superstitions #4: Don’t step on the baseline
This superstition is normally only followed by pitchers. At the beginning and end of an inning, a pitcher will actually step over the baseline on his way to and from the mound. This always amuses me when a pitcher does this after being pulled due to giving up several runs in an inning. Perhaps giving up six runs in one-third of an inning means that you should try something else for luck.
Sports Superstitions #5: Lucky Numbers
This superstition obviously isn’t just seen in sports. Countless people around the world have a number that they believe to be lucky. Many athletes will be given a uniform number at a young age and will keep that number throughout their college and professional careers. Unless, of course, you’re Kobe Bryant and you decide to change your number in order to sell new jerseys.
Sports Superstitions #6: The Rituals and Routines
I remember attending a basketball camp back in second grade. For about an hour a day all of us attending the camp practice our free throw shooting. It was at this camp that an instructor told me how important it was for a shooter to get into a routine while at the line. For example, to this day I dribble the ball three times and twirl it twice before attempting a free throw.
Another place to look out for this superstition is the batters box. Many players will perform the same mannerisms before entering the box. The best example of this is Nomar Garciaparra, who performs quite the show before every pitch.
Superstitions and sports have gone together since, well, forever. Most of us are very aware that we really can’t control whether or not our favorite team wins or loses a game. Following these superstitions just gives us crazy fans a better feeling about the event. Besides, when your team wins, you know in your heart why that was.