Athletes and coaches discuss game time superstitions

Superstitions and rituals have always held a place in the world of sports and occur at every level of competition.

Superstitions arise when an individual or even a group of individuals believe that not performing a certain action could lead to bad luck and vice versa.

These superstitions lead to rituals and these rituals become habitual actions many athletes choose to mark off their mental checklist before entering the playing field.

Some may think these rituals are pointless while others believe these superstitions are vital to their success on the field or court.

Many professional athletes have their own superstitions or rituals they are famous for.

Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, won all six of his NBA titles while wearing his University of North Carolina Tar Heel game shorts underneath his Chicago Bulls shorts.

Houston Rockets guard Jason Terry has many superstitions, including wearing the shorts of the next opposing team to bed the night before the game.

Former tennis superstar Bjorn Borg prepared for every Wimbledon tournament by growing out his beard and wearing the same Fila shirt for every match.

Professional athletes are not the only ones to have personal superstitions or rituals.

Some athletes at UNA also have unique protocols they must take before stepping on the field or court.

Freshman softball player Brianna Caldwell sings Disney’s “Phineas and Ferb” theme song before every at-bat.

Caldwell’s teammate, sophomore outfielder Amy Carden, has a unique ritual as well.

“I keep a bag of dog hair in my bag and put a single strand of (the dog’s) hair in my uniform pocket,” Carden said. “No lie, she has magical lucky powers.”

Athletes are not the only ones with interesting practices.

“I don’t have any certain pregame rituals but I do walk to and from every home game,” said men’s head basketball coach Bobby Champagne. “Whether it is raining or snowing, I’ll walk.”

Champagne said the first game he coached at UNA he was unable to park because he did not have his parking pass at the time.

“From then on I’ve always walked,” he said. “I only live a couple of blocks away so it’s not too bad.”

Baseball, a game full of unwritten rules, may be the most superstitious of all sports.

The superstitions of baseball players and fans has led to the belief in “curses”, such as the “Curse of the Bambino” which haunted the Boston Red Sox for 86 years, when the Red Sox traded away future home run king Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees.

Also the “Curse of the Billy Goat” still sticks with the Chicago Cubs today.

It is hard to find any baseball players who do not have at least one superstition.

Hall-of-Famer Wade Boggs had many pregame rituals like eating chicken, taking batting practice at a specific time and drawing the Chinese word “Chai” in the dirt before every at-bat.

“For me, my pregame superstition is I always put my left sock on first then my right [sock] and my left cleat on first then my right [cleat],” said senior pitcher Austin Carpenter.

Some baseball superstitions are universal.

“Just about every baseball player’s in-game ritual is hopping over the foul line and not stepping on the chalk,” Carpenter said.