Stinky Feet and Old Underwear: Sports Superstitions

Andre Ayala

Watching sports brings out the crazy in a lot of people, from yelling at the TV to burning their jerseys, but it also brings out the weird in them. If you aren’t a sports fan, it might be hard to understand the logic in what a sports fanatic would do to see their team win. Many fans are very superstitious, and the things that they do are jaw dropping.

It might be hard to believe, but your uncle who you thought was completely normal has probably been wearing the same underwear since 2003 when his Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. He has convinced himself that he is the sole reason for the Bucs winning that year. So now every Sunday he walks around in the same pair of underwear he wore that day.  Your uncle isn’t the only weirdo in the world.

Other fans might not be that hardcore, but they may sit in the same spot from beginning to end every time their team is playing or close their eyes as tight as possible when there is a gut-wrenching moment in the game. You might see some people missing from the guest list at your dad’s sports parties because he thinks they bring bad voodoo. And the thing is, fans aren’t the only ones who are superstitious.

Everyone knows Michael Jordan, but few are aware of his superstition. Before every NBA game, he wore his college shorts under his Bulls uniform. It wasn’t easy because of how short uniforms were back then. So Jordan started wearing longer shorts so he could sport his college uniform underneath them and changed the look of basketball. He followed this tradition his whole professional career and believed it helped him be successful. Stories like this is why fans believe their superstitions help their team win.

Just like MJ, there were other players and coaches who found success by carrying on a tradition that they felt would give them luck. Serena Williams during tennis tournaments wouldn’t change the pair of socks she had until the tournament was done. Jerry Tarkanian, a successful NCAA men’s basketball coach, always had to have a towel that he could chew on during games. John Henderson even thought getting slapped across the face before every game helped him play better. If you think that’s weird, imagine playing in a baseball game with a thong on, a gold one to be exact. Jason Giambi did just that after finding himself in a slump. His teammates who found themselves in droughts followed suit and tried Giambi’s method of madness.

So when you go to your uncle’s barbeque next Sunday and he tells you about the old pair of underwear he wears every game, or when your favorite athlete smells like stinky feet after a great tournament, you will know why. All these superstitions might seem out of the ordinary, but as the famous quote goes, ”Don’t knock it ‘til you rock it.”