Superstitions of Pre Rituals in Sports

Douglas Wallace, Staff Reporter

Ask anyone who plays sports and they can probably tell you about their rituals before a game.

Rituals before a game are usually for good luck and help ease the minds of the players. These rituals can go from normal sounding to superstitions.

Some of the most well known are Mike Bibby of the New York Knicks who has a ritual of clipping his fingernails during timeouts. It was said that he did this because of his anxiety.

Another one is a little scary. John Henderson, the Jaguars defensive tackle had an interesting way of getting hyped for his games. Henderson would have an assistant trainer slap him as hard as he could! Henderson would usually always choose the assistant trainer to slap him, but before they would, Henderson would have to reassure them multiple times nothing would happen to them.

Baseball player Nomar Garciaparra who played for the Oakland Athletics had a ritual known very well even by casual baseball fans. Before every pitch, he would adjust his Velcro, then move his bat like a windmill while tapping his toes. Nomar Garciaparra has told multiple sources that he doesn’t consider his pregame routine a ritual; it’s just a routine. “I’m just doing it to get everything tight,” Garciaparra was reported saying.

Most of these superstitions for players start when players do something by accident then continue to do that process to recreate that performance. It could have been anything that stood out to the player that happened that day, and they do it again to get better results.

Some of these rituals even go beyond the players to the point where some fans have begun to take part.

One of the most known rituals is the “Playoff Beard.” During the playoff season of football, fans begin to grow out their facial hair for good luck. The Playoff Beard originated from Ice Hockey, where the first team to start the Playoff Beard were the New York Islanders. Now its a standard tradition for many sports.

Even in our school sports there are some rituals players do for good luck.  Some swim players always make sure to take frequent naps before events for good luck.  Even our football players have their own ritual of pulling each other close and hitting their helmets together as a ritual.

Rituals for sports have been around for a very long time and most likely will continue for the foreseeable future. With so many people doing these rituals, it is bound to work at least once.