Here’s a little ditty about just how superstitious most people are, and that includes yours truly by the way. Word Count: 980
Now that the Pro. Football season is in full swing, it seems like more than an appropriate time to bring up the whole practice of superstitious behavior. A long-cherished tradition and practice when it comes to rooting for one’s favorite sporting team, and depending upon just how eccentric you happen to be, more than just another bizarre illustration of human behavior. The Merriam-WebsterDictionary defines “superstition” as; a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown or trust in magic or chance. A somewhat harsh definition of the term when you think about it, but basically true.
In the case of most people (including yours truly) doing all sorts of superstitious practices when it comes to rooting for your favorite team doesn’t make much sense, but we still do it anyway. Why? Various reasons including the fact that it’s fun, a force of habit in some instances, or a deep-seated fear that something will go deathly wrong if we don’t continue the practice. By the way, I have it on good authority that this is quite real in case you’re wondering.
Let’s examine some of the more bizarre superstitious practices when it comes to following a sport shall we? The first one that really sticks out in my mind comes from my youth. My high school basketball team had this uncanny ability to regularly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Over a three- year period we won exactly six games, and those were hard fought victories.
On the cusp of one of those rare victories about to happen, one of my teammates told me he hadn’t changed his socks for the entire week leading up to the big game. Justified his lack of foot hygiene by saying he had a good feeling about us winning and didn’t want to jinx it by changing anything. Okay, just don’t take your shoes off in my presence. In fact, let me know when you’re going to be in the locker room prior to the warm-up so I can make sure I leave before you show up.
I witnessed all sorts of quirky superstitious behavior during my college years. A roommate of mine who refused to eat chocolate on the morning before the big football games he regularly attended. Told me it was because he got sick when he ate a defective Snickers bar once.
I distinctly remember the guy I met who only wore a specific flannel shirt on the day of a Denver Broncos football game. Said he did this because the day he ripped the shirt and didn’t wear it, the team lost by thirty-five points to their devil spawn opponent. Never mind that the rip contributed to the shirt looking like it just made it through another rendezvous with a schizophrenic washer/dryer.
How about the group of people I heard about who refused to purchase a particular brand of sneakers because their favorite athlete ended his contract with the company. A TV broadcast of the team’s big game showed him wearing the old sneakers and then the team went out and lost the championship match. Also heard something about a nasty money difference during contract negotiations of 2 to 3 million dollars, but then what are a few randomly placed decimal points here or there?
The sport of Baseball seems to attract all sorts of superstitious types. The radio DJ who lost his job because every time he said anything positive about the team on his show they would go out and lose the very next day. Or the factory workers who had to sit in the exact same section, in the exact same seats, and eat the exact same food before before every game. If they didn’t, the starting pitcher for that day’s match would suddenly come up lame and the team will inevitably lose. Don’t ask “why” this is happening or “why” you have to do it that way, just follow the pattern and don’t ask questions. Quit being such a malcontent.
People who do a lot of betting on the outcome of games seem to hold onto a lot of superstitious practices. My favorite is the guy who only bets on his team to win with a particular set of numbers in a particular sequence. The team hasn’t had a winning record in ten years and the last time they were in the play-offs was during the Hoover administration, but he still keeps using those exact same numbers in that exact same pattern. Last we heard, rumor has it the guy moved to a tropical location in order to avoid contact with his bookie.
Of course, I’m as guilty as the rest of us. I wear the exact same Broncos T-shirt on the day of their games. It’s always a given that your colors will vary depending upon whether it’s a home or away game too.
Sit in that exact same chair, and only get up during commercial breaks and when the team is about to score. That’ll only happen when you aren’t looking at the TV screen. If they suddenly fumble or the quarterback throws an interception its your fault because your eyes were glued to the TV when they shouldn’t have been.
Has anyone actually tried to study why this behavior happens? Someone did at one time, but they made a terrible discovery. If these things don’t occur, the team will go on a losing streak of epic proportions.
In this age of advanced technology, lightning quick communication, and social media options everywhere you look, why do we continue to hold onto these oddball superstitious practices? For the same reason, you should probably walk down the sidewalk and avoid cracks like they’re instant portals to Hell.