Superstition is defined as "a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, proceeding, or the like."
Sports are built on superstitions. They're the belief that something is going to happen just because something else is happening. It's the reason Wade Boggs ate fried chicken before every single game, why hockey players aren't supposed to touch or hoist a conference championship trophy, and why Michael Jordan always wore his UNC shorts under his basketball uniform.
Fans, too, are victim to superstitions. Take me for instance. A notoriously superstitious athlete back in my day (yeah, yeah, I know), I refuse to wear anything during a game of the team I support unless I'm physically at the game. I won't drink a beer during a game, won't talk on the phone with my dad or my brothers during anything but television timeouts, regardless of the sport. At least once during a game, if my dad says, "I don't like how this one's going" any time during the early stages, I believe my team will win.
For BC, it kicks up an entirely different notch. Owing to my tradition of wearing my team's gear only if I'm going to games, I have a special "Flutie game" where I wear a Doug Flutie replica jersey once a year. Since buying it a few years ago, I've worn it against USC (2014), Virginia Tech (2013), Maryland (2012), and UMass (2011). That's a solid 4-0 (although, in all fairness, the UMass game was kind of a gimme for the first year).
When I've worked deciding games for playoff series in my broadcast career, I've always had the same superstitions—what I wear, what I do before a game, the music on the car stereo, even what I have out on a table. It's things I've built across a career, and while it may seem weird, it has a psychological impact that calms me and focuses me on the tasks at hand. Without them, I feel off kilter, like something's amiss. The more relaxed I am, the better I perform.
Think about what happened with the USC game this past year. BC wore special edition red bandanna gloves, cleats, and helmets. They won, and the uniform instantly became part of our folklore.
Remember when BC won the hockey national championship in 2012 after constantly wearing the gold jersey?
Remember how Syracuse wore the throwback uniforms in basketball, then resoundingly heard their fans say, "Don't EVER wear those again" after BC beat them?
My wife says I'm obnoxious when it comes to being superstitious. When I asked her why, she responded by saying, "There are too many." This comes from a woman who doesn't believe that you can control the outcome of a game by doing one thing or another.
It's only weird when it doesn't work, but I believe it'll work every week.
Do you have any superstitions? How insane are they? Sound off and let us know about your gameday traditions!