On a day when dead spirits are feared to be roaming the night, people around the globe have been able to trick themselves into investing false belief in superstitious practices.
Even in the world of sports, these practices can be found aplenty, and what better day to share some of the most common sports-related superstitions than on Halloween?
Baseball players arguably have the most complicated superstitions and practice the most intricate pre-“at-bat” rituals in order to avoid unfavorable streaks. The most common superstition considers it bad luck to even acknowledge the existence of a pitcher’s perfect game or no-hitter while the game is still in progress.
Offensively, a player is considered jinxed if he lends his bat to a fellow teammate, and some hitters will even go so far as to sleep with their lumber in an effort to break a hitting slump. Before a player even picks up his bat in preparation for his at-bat, the practice of spitting into his hands is said to bring good luck in his next plate appearance.
There is a heated debate as to whether a player who sinks a shot in the final minutes of warm-up will find much success in the game, or fail miserably.
At the foul line, while many players bounce the ball for a few seconds to refocus and block out the crowd, some merely do so as part of a superstitious ritual.
Fishermen are said to reel in much larger fish and good luck if they throw back their first catch. At the same time, an angler must never discuss the number of fish he has caught until he is ready to head home for the day, or else fish will not bite for the rest of his time in the water.
It is said to be bad luck if a barefoot woman passes a fisher on the way to the dock, and he will not catch anything.
Numbers in most team sports greatly affect a player’s rituals and superstitions. Double numbers on a player’s back are said to bring him good luck in a match. If a football player picks up with a new team and receives a different jersey number than his first in the NFL, he will have bad luck until he goes back to his original number.
If at any point in a game two players’ sticks become crossed, the two are jinxed for the rest of the night.
In pre-game rituals, many players see the goalie as a good luck charm and a squad is said to find success in the outcome of a game if everyone taps the goalie’s shin pads. Also before a game, many players believe that if they suit up in exactly the same order every day, they will have good luck on the ice.
In most sports, touching lines prior to a match will bring bad luck in the contest, and tennis is no different. When switching sides in a tennis match, players who walk outside of the court will find good luck and success in the second half.
Because of the nature of a service fault, many players hold multiple balls in their pockets and hands. However, players beware, holding more than two balls at a time will bring bad luck in the set.