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ACCORDING TO Stevie Wonder, superstition is “when you believe in things that you don’t understand.” Athletes have relied on several superstitions over the years to increase their chances of winning. At least, that’s what they believe. Tiger Woods wears a red shirt during the final round of every golf tournament. Serena Williams bounces the ball five times before her first serve, twice before the second, and wears the same pair of socks during each consecutive match of a tennis tournament. The great Michael Jordan wore his University of North Carolina shorts under his Bulls uniform.
While these professional athletes have their respective superstitions, the athletes at THHS have their own quirky routines and rituals as well.
Junior Jason Lin, a member of the boys varsity volleyball team, slides on the floor before a volleyball set. He said, “I [first] did it to calm down my nerves, but now whenever I do it, [the team] ends up winning the set.”
Freshman wrestler Leah Musheyev always enters the wrestling ring with her right foot first because she considers it her “stronger” side. Senior Rebecca Duras, also a member of the girls wrestling team, has noticed a connection between winning and not wearing her hair cap. She stumbled upon this superstition accidentally. “I had forgotten my stuff during a match and had to borrow my stuff from everyone, but no one had a hair cap. I was so mad that I had forgotten everything, that when I went onto the mat I took it out on the girl and beat her.”
Junior Hallee Pell Brown, goalie of the girls soccer team, was inspired by her Native American heritage to wear a necklace and get a tattoo of an arrow pointed to the right. She said, “According to Native American legend, an arrow pointing to the right gives protection and defense.”
Fellow soccer team members junior Dina Goodger and senior Nicole Gleizer both have superstitions with clothing. Dina wears the same sports bra and pair of socks (washed, of course) after a win. However, if she encounters a loss wearing those garments, she has to wear a different one for the next game.
Similarly, Nicole wears a neon sports bra for all her soccer games and a red one for basketball games. For her, it was a childhood tradition to wear certain garments that she considered lucky. “When I was younger I had a lucky headband that I wore for all sports,” she explained.
Not all superstitions happen before the game. Sophomore Louie Nicolosi, a member of the varsity baseball team has an unconventional approach to batting during baseball games. “Before each pitch is thrown, I need to blink. Otherwise, I think about not blinking and it throws me of.”
Nicole also has in-game rituals. She has a routine before every free throw she shoots, consisting of five dribbles with her right hand and two “bounces” with her knees.
Some superstitions are not as elaborate. Freshman Sean Wong, member of the boys’ basketball and volleyball teams, simply listens to music prior to games. “I’m always freaking out [beforehand], but music just takes everything of my mind.”
One thing all these superstitions have in common is their effects on the athletes. The repetitiveness of these zany rituals gives them a confidence boost unlike any other, helping them to relax and perform the best they can.