Superstitions: mental or a must?

Tying your right shoe before your left shoe is a common superstition among athletes in any sport. Superstitions are everywhere, and many people believe in them and their effects. (Photo courtesy by Chelsea Dinkenor)

Whether it’s a certain song that has to be listened to before a game or a specific order in which your shoes have to be tied, superstitions can be applied to just about anything. More than 50 percent of Americans have admitted to being a little superstitious, according to recent studies.

Superstitions date all the way back to 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt, when the saying “it’s bad luck to walk under a leaning ladder” was commonly used. Today, “knock on wood” or “don’t step on the cracks” are common examples of superstitions that people use everyday without realizing it.

Some might say that superstitions are very strict routine that a student or an athlete falls into, and others say it’s simply a mind game. However, a person isn’t born being afraid of Friday the 13 or being cautious of breaking mirrors. Belief in superstitions are taught and developed over time.

Superstitions are very common in the sports world.  Handshakes, quotes, a certain chant before kick off, and a specific meal that must be eaten are all examples of what athletes include in their pregame rituals. When an athlete develops a pregame routine, this is usually encouraged by coaches or teammates to manufacture a calm and focused environment in which the athlete can thrive.

With the many sports at Leesville, there are tons of athletes that have superstitions before their game begins. “I always go out to lunch with the team and then take a really long nap before the game, usually for about two hours; [it] helps me get my focus,” said Jalen Benjamin, junior at Leesville and player on the LRHS basketball team.

Many people form superstitions based on past victories.For example, if someone has to always wear black prewrap in their hair. If the wear a different color or forget it at home, they feel as if they have lost their edge that will result in a win. Other people would agree with this as well, but with their own personal twist. “I touch the top of the dugout because when you touch the top, you have reached the highest point of where everyone is, and that is how you win,” said Carson Sellers, sophomore softball player for Leesville.

Ben Daniels, the women’s basketball coach, has a very strict pregame routine that he follows religiously as well. He stirs his coffee with the same spoon and has to listen to the radio on a certain volume level. “I don’t really think that it actually matters what I do, but if we lose a game and I didn’t do everything I could have done, done, I feel awful about it,” said Daniels.

Students also have small things they must do before presenting in front of a class or taking a test to calm any nerves. “I always have to put my hair up in a ponytail before I take a test,” said Caitlyn Eckstein, sophomore at Leesville.

Superstitions are all around us and have been for as long as anyone can remember. Whether before a big exam, the championship game, a final presentation in class, or a concert, anyone can find that something as simple as a routine can be used to calm nerves and instill confidence!


  1. Superstitions are not only very common in the sports world, but also popular in daily life. For example, I believe I won’t get a good score if I do not buy new pens before testing.


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