What is your superstition?
We all watch sport. We all love sport. We all like the feeling that by supporting any team, in any sport makes you part of that team's extended family. We love the feeling of being part of something. So whether its Bristol City Football Club, Tampa Bay Buccaneers or even the increasingly abysmal Bristol Rugby team I would do almost anything I could to help my team win. That is where the wonderfully hilarious concept of superstition comes in to play.
Almost every player of sport will have some kind of superstition. For me I always put my left glove on first. Be it cricket, football or american football the left glove goes on first. No idea why. No idea when it started. But now it is the case. Every time. I've been successful in all three sports and I know that me putting my left glove on first has nothing to do with it. But does this mean I'll stop doing it? No. Just in case...
Baseball players may be the most superstitious. Pitcher Turk Wendell brushes his teeth and chews liquorice between every inning. Wade Boggs would eat only chicken the day of a game, and used to draw a symbol that means “To Life” in the dirt before every at-bat.
Former pitcher Mark “The Bird” Fidrych used to play with the dirt on the mound and talk to himself and the ball before he pitched. Former Red Sox Nomar Garciaparra gets dressed the same way every day, makes sure to step on each dugout step with both feet, and tugs at his batting gloves and taps his toes during each at-bat.
All of this is truly insane. Of course it is but it makes us as fans feel that we are in some way contributing to a team's success. If someone thinks that wearing the same underwear every game means their team wins then they'll do it. If someone thinks that not looking at the score of a game until its over means that their team will win then they'll do it. Superstition can also be negative, for example "The Madden Curse".
A subject dear to my heart this one as no baseball player will ever tread on the foul lines walking on or off the field each inning. I always insisted that the ball had to be thrown to me under-arm by the first baseman before I would pitch to the first batter each inning. Which was damn hard to explain to a German guy I played with in an All-Star game in 1993.
The 1992 Hemel Red Sox had a guy who bit a worm in half and we then won a key game. And our five-game winning streak to end that year over the top five teams in the UK were down to that and nothing to do with my five complete games pitching that won me the MVP!
And as for golf, everytime I make a birdie I do a leg-kick with my right foot having seen it at the start of Top Gun. It's become synonomous with my game at Pyrford!
Stupid really but hey, if it works ....
For years every player that was on the cover of the year's Madden computer game would inexplicably get a serious injury during the season. So much so that rumour has it that LaDainian Tomlinson has, apparently, turned down the Madden cover on several occasions for fear of being stuck down. Does the cover of a computer game really impact on a player's health? Of course not but you can see why people believe these things.
So what superstitions am I putting this season's Buccaneers miracle turnaround down to? Well there are three. Firstly I bought a Gerald McCoy jersey after the 2010 draft. I have worn it while watching every game this season, I haven't washed it all season (just in case that effected its power!). Secondly I had a bowl of ice cream at half time of every game this season. Just plain vanilla ice cream. Thirdly, finally and probably most importantly I watched every game this season with my wife's stuffed piglet wearing a Buccaneers helmet. No really. OK stop laughing now.
I had a Pewter mini helmet on my window sill for years now and for Christmas last year I bought my wife a piglet soft toy. The helmet fits the pig. My wife thought this was funny and sat the pig next to me, in uniform, for the first game of the season. We won and it stayed with me for all sixteen games. Now that is a dumb superstition! All three came from things I did for the first game out of chance, but we won. Obviously these three things we key to this victory so they had to stay!
I know its stupid, I know it makes no difference to a game taking place 4,000 miles away. But after the season we've had I think I'll be continuing to watch games with a stuffed pig, some ice cream and wearing my #93 jersey.