The Truth Behind Winning A Game

Jenna Lund, Student Writer

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Most athletes know what the word superstition means, but is superstition a real thing? To some people they rely on superstition to help them win a game, while others believe it has nothing to do with the way they play. Superstition is an excessively credulous belief in supernatural beings. It can be a certain behavior or action that an athlete performs, believing that it will have a specific purpose to influence their performance. Superstition is generally something that is developed by accident, then picked up from game to game. Superstition will arise when an athlete has a good or bad game, and then established a “cause and effect” by reviewing what they did before the game. Researchers have stated that superstitions come from athletes success and failures. Athletes who have a strong internal locus of control, believing that they are responsible for their actions, have less superstitions than athletes who attribute their successes to external influences. Superstition gives athletes a form of control as their competition is unpredictable.

Superstition is not always for athletes. Students may have superstition before taking an exam. For example, using the same pencil, wearing the same shirt or even listening to the same song before the exam are all different forms of superstition. Before a performance, actors may sing the same song every time, or may have a handshake with the other actors. The most common forms of superstition in athletes is; praying, wearing the same clothes, listening to the same songs, and being the last one off the field during the warm-up. Many of these athletes will use these rituals as visualization to recreate a particularly successful experience. Michael Jordan, a five-time MVP, is known for his famous superstition. Every game, he would wear his University of North Carolina shorts under his uniform to bring him good luck. Serena Williams, a three-time Wimbledon champ, has more than one superstition before she plays tennis. Serena must bring her shower sandals to the court, she ties her shoelaces a specific way and lastly, she bounces the ball five times before her serves. These famous athletes are not alone, there are hundreds of famous athletes who have a specific warm up, to help them win their game.

Not only do famous athletes have superstition, many high school athletes have a strict routine to their warm up to make sure they win as well. Aidan Link, a senior at Pennridge, states before a soccer game he must always say a prayer, tape his right wrist and he also must always bring his own soccer ball to the field. Emily Hegen, a senior at Pennridge, steps in the box on the softball field with her left foot first and evens out the dirt. Then when she is out on the field she must wear sunglasses on her head, even if it is not sunny out. Emily will also always wear a black bow. Emily stated, “I will only eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before games” Lastly, Emily will always listen to the same playlist before the games. Megan McManus, a senior lacrosse player stated, “I put my hair up and always wear a specific headband.” As you can tell, many high school and professional athletes have the same routines before games. As they believe it will give them good luck to help them win a game. Superstition can be taken very seriously by students, athletes and actors. People strongly believe that without their pre-game rituals, they will not win their game. The next time you are getting ready to perform, play, or take a test, notice the things you specifically do every time before your up against your challenge.