By Channing Flatt—
Superstition in sports is very common. From good luck charms to bad omens, no matter the level of the sport, superstition will follow athletes.
Many famous sport figures follow strange routines and rituals: Michael Jordan wore his University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill basketball shorts underneath his Chicago Bulls uniform, Serena Williams bounces the ball five times before her first serve; and Louisiana State University head football coach Les Miles goes as far as eating grass— all in the name of good luck.
Some superstitions may seem crazy, but according to research, they can actually help athletes perform better.
According to Dr. Paul Van Lange in an article published in The Journal of Applied Social Psychology in 2006, superstitious rituals can help athletes reduce the uncertainty of performing and can help increase confidence in their abilities.
Senior rodeo team member, Kelcie Reoh, says she isn’t very superstitious, but she does avoid the bad omens surrounding her sport.
“One that a lot of my friends follow is that you never have change in your pockets when you’re in the arena. The first thing you do is empty your pockets, even if you’re not doing anything,” said Reoh.
Though Rio remains skeptical of the hocus pocus surrounding her performance in her sport, she says she does follow a certain tradition, because she’s seen it cause bad luck firsthand.
“You never put your cowboy hat on the bed. That’s a huge superstition. I never put my cowboy hat on the bed because of my friend Addy. We were in Reno, Nevada. She put her cowboy hat on the bed and then she said, ‘Oh I’ll meet you guys downstairs in a little bit’. Then, we went and took our elevator down, made it. She went into the elevator and got stuck for two hours. So, I believe in that one at least,” said Reoh.
Senior Tarleton offensive lineman, Doudly Aujour, said confidence was the only good luck charm he needed last year when he made the Brady Pendleton half-court shot worth $2700.
“I walked in with a lucky shot. There was a lady at the front desk who always gives me a ticket, so when I walked in the first time I told her ‘I’m going to win today’. I never told her how, but I just felt it. ‘I was going to win today, so give me a ticket. I’m gonna go ahead and win this shot’,” said Aujour. “I knew I was going to hit it. I kept telling my friends I’m going to shoot that thing, it’s gonna hit backboard and it’s gonna go right in there. They said, ‘Bro, it’s not going to happen.’ I was like ‘Watch, they’re going to call my number and I’m going to win that $2,700.”
Junior Tarleton setter, Blanca Izquierdo, says her pregame routine isn’t particularly superstitious, but very different from her teammates.
“One thing I like to do is to go to my locker for a second, and put my headphones on and try to have a vision of me doing the right sets I want to do, and me playing the game how I want to play it,” Izquierdo said. “My teammates think I’m crazy because I close my eyes and everything and they are dancing around in the locker room.”
Although superstitions may seem odd, the sports world is full of them. Just know the next time an intramural game comes around, wearing those lucky socks might actually help.
Blanca Izquierdo is a multimedia journalist for Texan News.