Superstitious Athletes/Strange Sports Rituals - ehMac.ca
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old Sep 10th, 2008, 12:26 PM   #1
Honourable Citizen
 
MACenstein'sMonster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Saskadoom
Posts: 1,071
Superstitious Athletes/Strange Sports Rituals

I don't watch much sports or TV for that matter, too busy with family, work, and various projects. But whenever I can I still try to watch boxing and MMA (mixed martial arts). I trained and competed in various combat sports for over 16 years and despite no longer training it's still something I have an interest in. Moving on...

Well, for those of you not familiar with the sport of MMA and it's #1 organization, the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Challenge), Canada has produced some of it's top notch competitors. Quebec's own Georges "Rush" St.Pierre has become one of the sport's elite fighters and is currently the UFC's Welterweight Champion. This is where the strange stuff comes in. During Georges most recent fight he was seen doing this:



Since this strange "twist of events" taking place the question of "why?" has been asked many times without a conclusive answer - until now. During the last UFC PPV one of Georges' teammates, Rashad Evans, fought and performed a similar pre-fight ritual. It has since been claimed that the fighters from this particular fight camp perform this ritual for good luck. Sure. Whateva.

Nonetheless, if you compare Georges trendsetting nipple tweaking to this old top 10 list of athletes and their sport related quirks I think you'll agree that Canada can claim superiority in this category. "We're #1! We're #1! We're #1..."

Quote:
CBC SPORTS ONLINE TOP 10
Superstitious athletes
By Jason Murdoch, CBC Sports Online | May 10, 2005

"Fear is the main source of superstition and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom." - Bertrand Russell (1872-1970).

Most athletes probably haven't even heard of the British philosopher, but they'd be wise to heed his advice.

Sports is where the weirdest superstitions thrive and, if it leads to success of the team, are respected.

Accountants probably don't wear the same underwear during tax season. And when was the last time you saw a police officer perform the sign of the cross before he pulled someone over for speeding?

In sports, this odd behaviour is considered normal. Here's a look at some of the quirkiest of the bunch:

1. Wade Boggs
2. Mark Fidrych
3. Turk Wendell
4. Pelle Lindbergh
5. Kevin Rhomberg
6. Mike Hargrove
7. Patrick Roy
8. John McGraw
9. Goran Ivanisevic
10. Steve Finley/Darin Erstad


1. Wade Boggs, MLB

If you want to know about superstitions in baseball, Boggs is a perfect case study.

Known as the "Chicken Man," Boggs would eat poultry before every game and was obsessively compulsive about his routine.

He took exactly 150 ground balls during infield practice and had a fixation on time. He entered the batting cage at exactly 5:17 p.m. and ran wind sprints at 7:17 p.m.

Before each at-bat, he would write the Hebrew word "Chai" – meaning life – into the dirt of the batter's box.

Between pitches, he had a habit if he was playing defence: he'd swipe the dirt in front of him with his left foot, tap his glove two or three times and adjust his cap.

And those are just a few of dozens of Boggs's superstitions. To list them all would make this a Top 1 list.



2. Mark (The Bird) Fidrych, MLB

Of all the oddballs in baseball, Fidrych was the trailblazer.

Nicknamed "the Bird" for his resemblance to the popular Sesame Street character, Fidrych became a media celebrity for his antics on the mound during his rookie season with the Detroit Tigers in 1976.

Fans turned out in droves at Tiger Stadium to watch Fidrych fidget around on the mound, talk to the ball after each pitch and congratulate teammates after outstanding plays.

It all translated to a magical rookie season – 19 wins and a league-leading 2.34 ERA.

Unfortunately, his luck didn't last. Knee and arm injuries cut Fidrych's career drastically short and he never pitched a full season after his freshman year.

By 1981, after five abbreviated seasons, he was out of the majors.



3. Turk Wendell, MLB

"The Turk" would like to be known for his biting slider, but most baseball fans remember him as the pitcher who brushed his teeth between innings.

Paying special attention to his molars was probably Wendell's most famous superstition.

Chewing four sticks of liquorice while he pitched on the mound, Wendell would sprint back to the dugout after the third out of the inning, making sure to leap over the baseline, and then break out the toothbrush.

He would repeat the process in every inning he pitched.

Baseball fans won't get to see Wendell's antics any longer. After spending 11 seasons with various teams in the majors, he announced his retirement in late March.



4. Pelle Lindbergh, NHL

There's an old clichι in hockey that there's no normal goaltenders. It takes a special – some say insane – person to step in front of vulcanized rubber travelling at 90 miles an hour.

So it's no wonder that goalies are the most superstitious in the hockey fraternity.

The late Philadelphia Flyers netminder reinforced this stereotype with his behaviour in the locker room.

Lindbergh would wear the same old orange t-shirt from a Swedish sporting goods company under his equipment. Each time the shirt started to fall apart, he had someone sew it up.

But his quirks didn't end there. Between periods, he wouldn't drink anything but a Swedish beverage called Pripps and would only take a sip if there were exactly two ice cubes in the cup. A particular team trainer, by the way, could only deliver that cup to him.



5. Kevin Rhomberg, MLB

Never heard of him? You're not only one. But he certainly made an impression during his 41-game stint with the Cleveland Indians in the early 1980s.

According to former pitcher Rick Mahler, Rhomberg was the most superstitious player he met in his 12-year stint in the majors.

"If you touched him, he'd have to touch you back," he told the San Antonio Express News

"We told our catcher to reach up and give him a touch when he came up to the plate, but Rhomberg hit him back before the catcher was even done touching him."

The seldom-used outfielder needed to employ this superstition even when he was on the basepaths. If he was tagged when he was on base , Rhomberg would wait until the end of the inning and then chase down the infielder and touch him before he reached the dugout.

He would never make a right turn on the diamond, because when you run the bases you're always turning left.



6. Mike Hargrove, MLB

When he was a player, the Seattle Mariners manager rivalled Boggs as a slave to his superstitions.

Hargrove would walk up the first-base line and take three practice swings before stepping into the batter's box.

It got worse at the plate, where he would perform a series adjustments – fiddling with his batting gloves, pants, sleeves, wiping perspiration off his lips and pushing down on the top of his batting helmet before he was ready to step in.

After each pitch, he would repeat the routine.

It earned him the nickname, "The Human Rain Delay."



7. Patrick Roy, NHL

When he was just a rookie with the Montreal Canadiens, a reporter noticed that Roy seemed to get a lot of favourable bounces and the puck seemed to often hit the goalposts.

That's because, Roy said, he talks to his posts during the game.

"They are my friends," he said.

Roy's superstitions have been well documented because he is arguably the greatest goaltender to play the game.

Roy, who holds the NHL record for career wins by a netminder, had a set routine before every game.

During the pre-game, he would skate out to the blue-line and stare at the net, envisioning it shrinking. He would also consciously never step on the blue-line or red-line.



8. John McGraw, MLB

Players don't have a monopoly on irrational behaviour – just take a look at some of the things John McGraw did in his time as manager of the New York Giants:

The hard-as-nails manager once gave a job to a farmer who couldn't play because he believed the man, named Charlie Faust, was a magnet for good luck. Faust received a tryout when he approached McGraw and told him a fortune teller predicted success for him as a Giants pitcher.

Faust was horrible, but his arrival coincided with a Giants winning streak and he was fitted for a uniform.

McGraw would also pick up hairpins and pennies – face up only – that he stumbled across in his travels. He once employed a brewery to send a horse-drawn beer wagon across the Polo Grounds for 10 straight days because the first day it happened one of his players had a great day at the plate.



9. Goran Ivanisevic, Tennis

Many athletes call their daily quirks part of their routine, something that's necessary to prepare them for the game.

Ivanisevic, though, readily admits he was superstitious while he was on the court.

The former tennis star would always try to be the second person to get up from his chair on the change-over and would try to never step on any of the lines.

Off the court, he was even worse. If he won a match at a tournament, he would repeat everything from the previous day – go to the same restaurant, eat the same food and try to talk to the same people.

"Sometimes, it got very boring," he wrote on his website.



10. Steve Finley/Darin Erstad, MLB

Forget steroids – Finley and Erstad have delved into the world of mysticism to generate performance-enhancing powers.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim teammates have both worn a little leather pouch containing various minerals around their necks to ward off injury and slumps.

Finley got the mysterious pouch from Craig Counsell, then a teammate with the Arizona Diamondbacks, in 2002. He gave it to the injury-prone Erstad this season.

Apparently, the necklace has worked for both players.

As soon as Finley received it three years ago he went on a hot streak, hitting over .350 for the next three months.

Right after he received it from Finley, Erstad went on a hitting streak and was injury free through the first month of the season.
CBC Sports Online: Top 10: Superstitious athletes
MACenstein'sMonster is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old Sep 10th, 2008, 01:02 PM   #2
Honourable Citizen
 
iJohnHenry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Oshawa, Ontario.
Posts: 1,491
Try this one.

Quote:
According to NHL lore, (goalie Glenn) Hall threw up before each game, then drank a glass of orange ...
__________________
First-time Mac user.
iMac 24" Aluminium. 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 gig "kit".
Elephant 500 gig fire-wire for Time Machine.
iJohnHenry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 10th, 2008, 01:09 PM   #3
Honourable Citizen
 
MACenstein'sMonster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Saskadoom
Posts: 1,071
Quote:
Originally Posted by iJohnHenry View Post
Try this one.
Basketball's Bill Russell apparently did the very same before every game. Damn, those guys must have had some wicked bad breath

Most times I, like most competitors I would imagine, got "butterflies" before an event but I never felt like spewing. I knew a couple people who did but fortunately I was never that nervous.
MACenstein'sMonster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 10th, 2008, 01:14 PM   #4
Honourable Citizen
 
iJohnHenry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Oshawa, Ontario.
Posts: 1,491
I bet the forwards didn't hang around Glenn's crease any longer than necessary.
__________________
First-time Mac user.
iMac 24" Aluminium. 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 gig "kit".
Elephant 500 gig fire-wire for Time Machine.
iJohnHenry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 10th, 2008, 01:28 PM   #5
Retired Mayor of ehMac
 
ehMax's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: ehMac World Headquarters
Posts: 10,150
Send a message via AIM to ehMax
I noticed Rashad Evens doing this the last PPV. Very weird.

I see a lot of soccer players drag their hands along the ground and touch the sideline before entering the pitch.

Also, a lot of soccer players kissing their wrists for some reason.
__________________
Not a member of ehMac? Click here to join the community for Free!

Visit iCracked.com for Professional iPhone and iPad Repair!
ehMax is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 10th, 2008, 01:31 PM   #6
Honourable Citizen
 
MACenstein'sMonster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Saskadoom
Posts: 1,071
Quote:
Originally Posted by ehMax View Post
I noticed Rashad Evens doing this the last PPV. Very weird.

I see a lot of soccer players drag their hands along the ground and touch the sideline before entering the pitch.

Also, a lot of soccer players kissing their wrists for some reason.
Every notice how soccer players fall down as though they've been struck by lightening whenever they lose the ball - weird
MACenstein'sMonster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 11th, 2008, 12:30 AM   #7
Honourable Citizen
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,012
.

Last edited by MasterBlaster; Oct 11th, 2012 at 01:24 AM.
MasterBlaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 11th, 2008, 07:59 AM   #8
Resident Curmudgeon
 
SINC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Central Alberta
Posts: 68,572
Send a message via AIM to SINC
Welcome back MB, we missed you!
__________________
Visit my website:
St. Albert's Place On The Web
(Over 1.6 million folks have.)
SINC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 11th, 2008, 12:07 PM   #9
Honourable Citizen
 
MACenstein'sMonster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Saskadoom
Posts: 1,071
Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
Rituals put you into an optimized performance state.
I'll buy that for a dollar.

Imagine if Georges suddenly found himself in an arm lock on the verge of being submitted...

Georges (reaching with his free hand): "Must twist nipples...forgot to do it earlier...it's my only chance..."

Kind of like the tv cartoon of Hercules where at the critical moment he had to reach to his belt for his ring. Why didn't he just wear the ring all the time? Did it need charging between battles?

After reading a book called Peak Performance I tried using visualization techniques when I competed. I believe it made a difference. When everything else was fine tuned the visualization sessions helped me clarify my overall game plan. In reality, it's just a another word for meditation.
MACenstein'sMonster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 11th, 2008, 04:08 PM   #10
Honourable Citizen
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,012
.

Last edited by MasterBlaster; Oct 11th, 2012 at 01:25 AM.
MasterBlaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Women in Sports (pt1): Female Sports Reporters Ohenri Everything Else, eh! 13 Sep 5th, 2005 12:04 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:41 PM.



Copyright © 1999 - 2012, ehMac.ca All rights reserved. ehMac is not affiliated with Apple Inc. Mac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, Apple TV are trademarks of Apple Inc. Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 RC 2

Tribe.ca: Urban living in Toronto!