Athletes seem powerful and mostly pretty cool, so when you start looking into sports superstitions and rituals, it’s oddly vindicating to discover that big time athletes have as many quirks (if not more) than you do. It’s interesting to discover that despite their millions of dollars and pumped up muscles, athletes are just as bound to strange, and often surreal sports rituals in the service of doing well at their job. Depending on your own superstitious habits, this list of athlete rituals is either going to make complete sense to you, or make you wonder how all these weird superstitions and habits came to be so prevalent.
For as rough and tumble as they are, athletes are super weird. Who knew that they had just as many superstitions and traditions as the old ladies that haunt bingo halls, and wedding planners the world over? As odd as it is that some baseball players don’t wash their clothes during hot streaks, and that one MMA fighter drinks his own pee (yep!), it’s really too bad that there isn’t even one hockey player who needs a troll doll on the ice with him at all times. Perchance to dream, we suppose.
Honey, I Shrunk the Goal!
Why? To shrink it. That’s right, Roy imagined the goal getting smaller. Whatever works!
Don't Touch Kevin Rhomberg
Players would touch him and take off into the clubhouse, and he would spend hours trying to find them and touch them back. If he didn’t get you, you could expect a letter that said, “This constitutes a touch.”
Jason Terry Sleeps in the Pants of His Enemies
Every night before a game, Terry sleeps in the shorts of his opponent the next day. Somehow, the man has managed to acquire the actual shorts of every team in the NBA, and will sleep in them. When a team gets a new uniform? Terry gets new shorts.
Larry Walker and the Number 3 Sitting in a Tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G
He set his alarm clock for 33 minutes past the hour, took batting practice in groups of three swings and was married on November (why not March?) 3 at 3:33 pm. He also bought 33 tickets to give to under-privileged kids during his time in Montreal, to be seated in section 333. In one of his contracts, he asked for $3,333,333.33.
The superstition has been picked up by baseball and football players as well, and pretty much every athlete ever has done it, including Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and MLB closing pitcher Brian Wilson.
Bruce Gardiner Bullies His Stick
Chorske looked at Gardiner’s stick, and reportedly said he was treating it too well.
“Go dunk it in the toilet,” was Chorske’s advice. “Show it who’s boss.” So after a few more scoreless games, the rookie did just that. He scored two goals, and kept dunking the stick. The points kept rolling in.
If You Love Your Bat So Much, Why Don't You Marry It?
Yes, you read that correctly: Ashburn slept with his bat.
You Must Kick the Spit
Watch Out for the Foul Line
The Rally Cap
Then, the 1977 and ’78 Texas Rangers took up the rallying cry of the cap, flipping their lids during comeback wins.
Ecuador's Witch Doctor
Because magic isn’t real, Ecuador won two games before losing in the second round of the tournament.
Cubs Fans Hungry for an End to the Curse
Until 2015? To try to break the curse, a group of fans decided they’d need to eat an entire 40-pound goat (including the eyes, brains, and… other less appealing parts). They even recruited professional competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi to help accomplish the task. How long it’ll take for their goat feast to break the curse remains to be seen.
Source: Washington Post
There's No Washing in Baseball!
Kline got so famous for doing this that the St. Louis Cardinals held a “Steve Kline Hat Day” at Busch Stadium, wherein the first 5,000 fans at the park got their own pre-funkified hat, in his honor.
Turk Wendell’s Necklace
One Shoe After the Other
And he’s not alone: Everyone from baseball players to basketball players (who, typically, have just eight to 10 things to put on) do it.
Did it work? Not really, as the Italians failed in their quest to take home the most sacred of soccer relics: the Jules Rimet trophy.
Who You Gonna Call? BARRY FRY!
Jason Giambi's Thong
For Goodness Sake Don't Touch Sid's Stick
Crosby has to be the one to tape his stick. If someone touches it after it’s taped, he has to do it again. As in, he takes the tape off and re-tapes the entire blade. And when the Penguins are on the road, Crosby has to use the tape provided by the host team, not the tape the Penguins bring with them. As if this weren’t enough, Crosby eats at the same restaurants in each city. Every time. He also refuses to talk to his mother before a game (the last time he did, he suffered serious injuries in that night’s game).
Les Miles Eats Grass
“I have a little tradition that humbles me as a man, that lets me know that I’m a part of the field and part of the game,” Miles said as a smile widened on his face. “You should have seen some games before this. I can tell you one thing: The grass in Tiger Stadium tastes best.” Sure it does!