Very Superstitious

Bailey Kuhn, Staff Reporter

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Athletes have superstitions like roses have thorns. It’s like a right of passage for players of all sports worldwide. Whether it’s a handshake or a quick snack or a whole routine, it HAS to be done in order to succeed. Even professional athletes admit to having a few pre-game rituals. Take Michael Jordan for example. He would wear his favorite pair of North Carolina basketball shorts under his actual NBA shorts (which were made longer than everyone else’s just for that reason.) He did this throughout his years playing professionally and maybe they are as magical as he said they were considering his immense popularity and hall of fame status.


Superstitions began centuries and centuries ago when our ancestors were trying to justify the means of things that we now know have a scientific reason behind them. Things like shadows were seen as signs from above, “If someone broke something onto which the shadow or reflection appeared, people believed that their soul was harmed.” That is where the superstition about breaking mirrors was born. Although most witch/curse superstitions originated from a long time ago, superstitions regarding athletes aren’t that modern either. Whether it’s life or death or win or lose, these routines and regimends must be completed to have the best outcome.


Some athletes take their superstitions very seriously. Take junior, Kayla Durbin, for example, “I do believe that a pair of socks or a piece of clothing can be lucky. Whenever I get injured I throw out everything that I was wearing when it happened because I believe it had something to do with me getting hurt. I even threw out my favorite pair of basketball shorts when I tore my acl and meniscus because I knew I couldn’t wear them again.” Being an athlete myself, I don’t think that’s too out of the ordinary. That’s like not wanting to rewear a funeral outfit. It’s associated with depressing memories and maybe the only way to get rid of them is by actually getting rid of them.


Taylor Breeden, junior, has four lucky hair ties that she MUST wear for every volleyball match. “If someone’s big game was about to begin or it’s picture day and someone needs a hair tie, I just cover my wrists and tell them I don’t have any because it is so important that only I wear them and don’t lose them. I’ve done this ever since our big win and but now I can’t imagine a match without it. I don’t think it’s crazy, I think it’s effective so that’s all I care about.” Athletes of all sports do what they can for the love of the game. No matter how ridiculous or weird, you do what you have to do.


No, winning isn’t everything, but the feeling you receive after is something indescribable. Knowing all your hard work has gone into something bigger than yourself is an amazing feeling so what’s wrong with doing a few little steps that could possibly make or break the game. Being apart of a team is an aspect of sports that doesn’t get enough credit. Team bonding, team dinners, team practices, all things that bring communities closer in a very important way. Even team superstitions such as the varsity girls soccer team and their handshakes, gymnastics and their same warm-up, or basketball and their singing on the bus are all things that not only bring the team together, but also instill confidence in their play.


Superstitions are such small aspects of sports yet they hold so much power. Varsity lacrosse freshman, Jack Fink, feels very passionately about his pre-game routine, “I have special socks that I wear every game and I don’t know why but it feels weird when I don’t. They look like regular old socks but I can’t stand playing without them.” The same goes for sophomore, Sarah Vernail, who claims that not following her pre-game rituals actually have an impact on her play. “I think it is definitely more psychological than physical, but I guess I’ve been doing it for so long that it gets in my head and I sike myself out.” Superstitions come along with a sense of confidence and once you do it the first time and you’re successful well then of course you’re going to assume that had a big impact on why you did so well.


Some athletes drop their routine the first time they lose or don’t do well, others believe that you must stick with your ritual and show consistency in order to acquire any sort of success. Senior basketball star, Lakin Krisko, said “Before every basketball game I would yell “enthusiasm ladies” and then get on the ground and light an imaginary fire to roast the competition.” She says that not only is it her pre-game ritual but it also hypes up the team and is something they look forward to.


Superstitions can even be done post-game just like the Valley boys soccer team does after each match. A ritual that began after their first win of the season, the varsity boys rush into the team room as they write their record on the board and jump and yell to celebrate their victory. Now it is an every game occurrence that junior, James Fink, says he looks forward to and what is a big motivator during the game. “Getting to share that experience with all my boys after having a rough few seasons really made it something special. It was like icing on top of the cake. A big, well-deserved win and having the opportunity to celebrate all our hard work.” In the end, superstitions play a huge part in athletes day to day lives. From practice to games, basketball to lacrosse, socks to sayings, it gives players the confidence they need to succeed each time they step on the pitch.