Pre-game preparation


Olivia Borg / Legacy Media

Senior Christian Snow prepares for a game by listening to a song and completing his pre-game rituals.

Michael Jordan wore his college shorts under his Bulls uniform every game. Tiger Woods wore a red shirt for every Sunday tournament. Jason Giambi wore his lucky gold underwear whenever he was struggling in a game.

Athletes, famous or not, are notorious for having superstitions, believing they will affect performance. Freshman Virginia Stevens has a ritual to get pumped for soccer matches.

“My friend and I always do a handshake before we get on the field,” she said. “We do it for good luck and it gets us energized for the game.”

For most athletes, superstitions help to mentally prepare for the game, but some believe that not completing their pre-game rituals can lead to dire consequences.

“Since my sophomore year, I listen to the same song every time I get on the bus and use the same locker every time we are at Klein Memorial,” senior football player Christian Snow said. “For one game, I didn’t do one of those things and I ended up breaking my ankle.”

Senior baseball player Jared Huber said that superstitions can extend past the individual player and affect the whole team. Along with his teammates, Huber participated in superstitious traditions for luck at play-offs.

“Everyone that is on varsity gets a mohawk, and some people dye it bleach blond or red,” he said. “It has always been a tradition for us when we get to play-offs to help team unity and bring us good luck.”

Coaches who observe these athletes take note of their particular superstitions. Football and golf coach Steve Bruce relates to his players’ superstitions from his own experiences.

“I grew up as a player before I was a coach and used to have certain superstitions like the way I got dressed,” he said. “I think anything within reason is all right. If players really think it works and it is not a distraction to the other players, then it is not a bad idea.”

According to junior tennis player George Ho, superstitions are meant to give athletes confidence.

“Most athletes want something to hold on to like there is something greater than them that can help them win,” he said. “Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not, but it makes them feel better because it makes them less stressed out about who they are going to play and how it is going to go.”

However, some athletes are not convinced of the luck-bringing effects of superstitions. Senior Matthew Dorsey, a soccer player for the Houston Dynamo, finds no relationship between superstitions and performance from past experience.

“When I was twelve, I used to drink a Redbull before every game because I thought it would help me play better, but it was just really unhealthy and did not help my game,” he said. “I think superstitions have no correlation with performance because they are just mental tricks that don’t actually help athletes perform physically.”