Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sports Fans Are Crazy

Sports fans are crazy. They are crazy about the teams they devote themselves to. They even develop superstitions that they think will improve the luck of their teams. A October 2007 article on ESPN.com explains that recent poll results showed that 1 in 5 sports fans does something to try to improve their teams' luck or to keep from jinxing their team.

WASHINGTON -- It didn't take Heather Pate long to figure out why her beloved Auburn University football team had begun losing. It was the pink toothbrush.

Pate, a lifelong fan of the school, has long refused to own anything with even a hint of red, the color of archrival Alabama. That puts her among the one in five sports fans who say they do things in an attempt to bring good luck to their favorite team or avoid jinxing them, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday.

The survey showed no real difference by gender, race or education in whether people try finding a way to help their team win. But those who do tend to be younger and make more money than those willing to risk letting the athletes determine a game's outcome. They also are more likely to be single.

Lisa Rawlinson, 40, a pharmaceutical sales manager from Huntington, W.Va., won't watch crucial Cleveland Indians games on television. She didn't watch Sunday night but her Indians somehow lost the decisive game anyway against the Red Sox, allowing Boston to creep into the World Series, which starts Wednesday.

Todd Williams, 33, of Lexington, Ky., likes to watch University of Kentucky games clad in Kentucky blue-and-white apparel -- and clutching his lucky basketball. For Yankees fan Paul Hegyi, 31, of Sacramento, Calif., it's a lucky bat -- which failed him last week when the Indians bumped New York from the playoffs.

Mario Alvarado, 40, of Houston leaves Houston Texans' football games if they are trailing. He did so Sunday and by the time he turned the game on at home, the Texans had taken a lead -- only to lose as the Tennessee Titans kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired.

"If I hadn't turned it on, I probably wouldn't have jinxed them,'' he said.

And I must admit that I have found myself to be part of that one fifth of sports fans who is superstitious. The first 4 times I saw my favorite baseball team, the NY Yankees play, the lost. At the end of the fourth game and into the fifth, I was really beginning to wonder if I was causing them to lose. And after they lost the fourth game, my friend suggested that I wear a different jersey, since I had worn the same jersey to every game. So I switched jerseys for the fifth game, and the Yankees won. Coincidence or superstition? I guess we'll never know, but I still find myself thinking that it was the different jersey.

Fans are not the only ones who develop superstitions. The athletes we all watch have superstitions and rituals, as well. In an article on Psychologyofsports.com, Jason Carney interviewed a number of college athletes who all have what would seem to be crazy rituals they perform before games. They say if they don't do it, they feel as though they won't perform as well. Some of the rituals mentioned include a bubble bath the night before a track meet, brushing teeth before a basketball game, and convinving oneself they are The Flash before a track meet. Another famous superstition in sports is Micheal Jordan's. He wore his college basketball shorts underneath his Chicago Bulls shorts for good luck. In baseball, it's a widely known fact that you do not step on the baselines before the game or in between innings. It's just bad luck. Players and coaches go out of their way to make sure they step over the baselines.

And recently in the news, probably the mother of all superstitions....A Boston Red Sox fan who was a construction worker at the new Yankee Stadium buried a David Ortiz jersey under two feet of concrete while working at the Stadium. The Yankees eventually removed the jersey, and it was sold for charity. But the Red Sox fan believed that the jersey would curse the new Stadium, and the team that resided there. From an article on gothamist.com:
The Bronx-born Yankee-hating and Red Sox-loving construction worker who buried a Red Sox jersey in the new Yankee Stadium has given photographic evidence to the Post proving it's no tall tale. "Gino" explained, "As I stuck it in, I said, 'The Yankees are done for the next 30 years.' I only put a 30-year curse because I'm 46 and in 30 years I'll be dead, and I won't care if the Yankees win then."


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