Athletic Superstitions: How much are they relied upon?

(https://drstankovich.com)

Jenna Joslyn, Staff reporter

Everyone has superstitions that are believed in, whether they are about school, daily life, or sports.  A superstition is defined as “an excessively credulous belief in and reverence for supernatural beings.”  From high school athletes to professional athletes, they all have superstitions for one reason and for one reason only.  People believe that if they wear a certain pair of shoes, eat a certain food, or wear a certain necklace, they will perform better.  People believe that if they complete the superstitions that they will perform better on a test or in a game. Some people have superstitions and don’t even realize they do them unless they go back and think about it.  The majority of the students at our school participate in sports. Many of them have superstitions before practices but especially before games.    

Chad Gloss, linebacker for the Orchard Park varsity football team, has multiple superstitions when preparing for a game.  “Every game I wear the same undershirt and use a new mouth guard. I also don’t wash my equipment ‘til after a game. During every halftime, I always use my inhaler,” Chad says.  These superstitions seemed to be very important to him. “It just wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t do them. I would not play as well, and I can’t let my team down,” he adds.

Aiden Jones, defensive player on the Orchard Park varsity Fed hockey team, also has superstitions before his hockey games.  “I have a lot of superstitions that I do before hockey games. I have to get to the rink an hour and a half before my game starts.  The second we get on the bus for away games, I put on my headphones and I do not take them off until after our dry-land warmups are finished.  Before each and every game, I pray for a good game and safety throughout the game. If I didn’t do these before each game, I would feel very off and wouldn’t perform as well,” Aiden said.

Jessica Joslyn, one of three co-captains of the Orchard Park Lady Quakers varsity lacrosse team, also has an athletic superstition.  “Before every game I have to retie my stick in certain spots. I do it for my stick check, but I need to do it so I am mentally prepared to play the game,” Jessica said.

Melanie Mingle, defensive specialist on the Orchard Park Lady Quakers varsity volleyball team, also has a few superstitions she could not go a game without.  “Every single game I would have to wear the same mauve scrunchie in my hair, and I would literally tighten my ponytail so often. I wipe off my shoes before every single play, and I always have to wear white socks.  The first game I wore my new shoes.  I played absolutely awful, and I blamed it on the shoes,” Melanie said. It would appear Melanie believes that if she does these things, the overall outcome of her volleyball game will be better.

Rachael Major, guard for the Orchard Park Lady Quakers varsity basketball team, also has many superstitions that must be completed before each game.  “I have a lot of superstitions. So first I have to eat buttery pasta with Parmesan cheese before the game. I always have to wear black spandex and roll out my ankles so I don’t get a sprain.  I also always practice my form shooting and stretch out my arms on the side. I eat sports beans before every game as well to give me energy. If I didn’t do one of these before a game, I mentally would not feel right and probably not be able to play as well,” she said.

Interviewing my classmates about their athletic superstitions made me realize how prominent they are in their athletic lives.  Each of the players agreed that they would not feel right before and during the game if they didn’t do their usual routines. All of the athletes also agreed that if one thing was off before the game, they would not be able to perform as well.  Interviewing both boys and girls, the boys had a lot more superstitions than the girls did. It could be due to the fact that sports usually occupy the majority of most boys’ attention. Psychologically, superstitions can really mess with your head because it is what you believe will happen.  Through interviewing my classmates, it is clear that they are very dependent upon their superstitions and feel their performance throughout a game partially depends on whether or not they stick to their superstitions.