By Jackson McDowell ’21
Athletes will go to drastic measures to do their superstitious routines, to a point where they won’t play as well if they don’t do their ritual. Many of the best athletes have pre-game rituals, such as putting on their right shoe before their left, listening to the same song, or eating the same food before every game. Some athletes have game-time habits, like brushing their teeth between innings that they believe makes them better.
Michael Jordan wore his North Carolina shorts under his game shorts during every game during his professional career. Michael Jordan, considered by many to bethe best basketball player of all time, being superstitious shows that even elite athletes have some sort of routine, and carrying out their rituals makes them feel better about their game psychologically.
“My team played well in the game when I first started my superstition,” said Nolan Sargent, a sophomore at Regis Jesuit. Nolan is on the varsity hockey team at Regis, and he has quite an interesting superstition. Nolan is always sure to put on all of his left gear on before his right at every hockey game. He also tapes his stick. This superstition is a lot like Sydney Crosby’s. According to Bleacher Report, “Sydney Crosby is one of the best players in the world, and he has many different superstitions that include taping his stick, and the way he goes into the home games.”Hockey has proven to be one of the more superstitious sports. When you win the conference championship, the players refuse to touch the trophy for that achievement, because it is bad luck for the Stanley cup, which is the ultimate prize.
Superstitions are known to psychologically make you feel better after you, or your team, does well while you are doing the ritual. For example, Alexander Bruns is a freshman on the Varsity football team. He has some superstitions that he thinks help him play better, and when he doesn’t do them he says he feels “off” and not like himself. Alexander ties his right shoe in a double knot and his left in a single kno“I didn’t notice that I was doing it until a friend pointed it out to me,” he said. Alexander also plays baseball, “I don’t really have a superstition for baseball; but I like to hangout with friends before, and after games to keep it fun.”
Athlete superstitions seem to be the norm because of how many people do them, and completely believe in them. Superstitions help spike confidence, which is the main reason why athletes have them. Professional athletes face a lot of failure. They get the extra confidence they need through superstitions to get them the success they work so hard to achieve. Athletes are very superstitious at all levels of play, from the professionals to our high school athletes. It helps put the athlete in the best frame of mind to bring out their best performance. Athletes also use these superstitions to be more confident during critical times of the game. They believe that sticking to routines that work will bring out their best when it’s needed most, and I can’t think of a better way to approach that situation.