We have written about sports superstitions before, but I decided to add a few more, as I am personally very interested in the sociological aspect of superstition in human behaviour. For some, superstition is a light-hearted belief in chance, where people do, or do not do something ‘just in case’ their belief may be true. These are the type of people whose belief in superstition stems from long-held tradition, such as not walking under a ladder, throwing spilt salt over their shoulder or throwing the bouquet at a wedding. These types of behaviours are fairly benign and most of us still hold onto these superstitions for traditional reasons, and in the hope that they may bring a little bit of luck.
On the other hand, there are those who take superstition to a whole new level, and there are a minimum of two types in this category. First, you have the people who insist on retaining an object of some sort (a lucky charm) or habitually execute an action of some sort with the belief that this action will cause them to attract luck. These are the type who wear a lucky rabbit’s foot, a ring, lucky clothing or similar for luck; or they may execute an action such as praying, eating a particular food, bouncing a ball a particular way or putting their shoes on in a particular order with the belief that their habit keeps them lucky. Then, there are the ‘damaging’ types of superstitious beliefs, attributed to people who have a tendency towards obsessive compulsive behaviour. These poor folk believe that if they don’t maintain a particular action – EVERY TIME – that they will attract serious bad luck. Their superstitious behaviour can range from taping fingers (many sports stars do this), putting clothing on in a particular order, repeating a particular routine (such as eating at the same restaurant or having the same particular daily routine – every day), to carrying a particular lucky charm or avoiding particular actions or even people!
Many people who do sports betting are superstitious, and the most extreme types of behaviour are usually seen in pro-gamblers, such as poker players, blackjack players and similar. Superstitious sportspeople take the cake for the weirdest though, and here are a few more examples:
- Basketball player, Jason Terry, goes to bed wearing the shorts of the opposing team the night before every game. He also thinks that playing in five pairs of socks will attract lady luck.
- Gary Player, the South African golfer, would only ever use even-numbered golf balls, leaving the odd-numbered ones in the golf bag.
- Tennis player, Serena Williams, must bounce the tennis ball five times before the first serve and two times before the second serve.
- Philadelphia Flyers goaltender, Pellé Lindbergh, would only drink a Swedish beverage, called Pripps, between hockey periods. Also, his cup had to contain exactly two ice cubes, and had to be delivered by the same trainer.
- Baseball player, Wade Boggs, ate chicken before each game. He also felt the need to schedule his batting practice for 5:17 exactly, did his running sprints at 7:17 exactly, and always writes the word, CHAI, in the dirt before batting.
- US golfer, Jack Nicklaus always carried three lucky pennies in his pocket.
- Croatian tennis champ, Goran Ivanisevick, would repeat everything if he won a tournament match on the previous day, such as going to the same restaurant, eating the same foods, and talking to the same people, in the hope that whatever he did that was lucky could be repeated.