Strange Sports Superstitions and Rituals


A lot of people believe luck comes from rituals, certain beliefs and superstitions. This is definitely true in the world of sports.  Some players have a lucky shirt, hat or other garment they wear or follow specific rituals before a game. Here are some of the more renowned and interesting superstitions and rituals found in the sporting world.

Mike Bibby’s Fingernails

NBA Player Mike Bibby always had a bad habit of biting his fingernails when he felt nervous. He was always seen on the bench obsessively gnawing on his nails. In order to address this situation, he used a nail clipper to clip his nails instead of biting them when he gets nervous. It became a think that there was actually someone waiting to hand him nail clippers when he sat on the bench so he could immediately get down to business.

Brian Urlacher’s Secret to a Great Game

Before the Superbowl XLI game in Miami, the Bear’s linebacker Brian Urlacher secret was revealed to the press. Apparently, his pre-game ritual doesn’t involve any skull crashing or head smashing workouts. In fact, Brian Urlacher liked to keep things on the down low. The morning before a game, Urlacher likes to unwind for an hour by watching his favorite fishing show on TV. Then once he is in the stadium, he likes to have some time for himself to listen to some music. He always has a pre-game chocolate chip cookie before hitting the field.

Detroit’s Lucky Octopus

This ritual  of the Detroit Redwings is that the audience will toss octopuses onto the ice after the Red Wings score a goal. This origin of this tradition began in 1952 when there were only a few NHL teams who made it to the finals of the Stanley Cup.  At that time you could win eight straight games to win the championship. The legs of an octopus symbolizes the eight winning games of the Stanley Cup. This tradition is still going strong to this day.

The Haka- Maori War Dance

The international rugby team of New Zealand, the All Blacks, always do the traditional Maori Haka dance before every international match. One version of the Haka chant that is customarily performed by the All Black before a game translates to:

It is death, it is death

It is life, it is life

This is the hairy man

Who caused the sun to shine again for me

Up the ladder, up the ladder

Up to the top

The sun shines.

It is accompanied by loud chanting and an aggressive flapping of arms, stomping and fierce looks and even angrily sticking out of tongues. This ritual is weird and intimidating at the same time.

Moises Alou Peeing on his Hands

Former Chicago Cubs outfielder Moises Alou confessed to the press his secret to a callus free hands, he said that he pees on it to help the skin soften. Unfortunately, there is no scientific explanation to back that up.

Rafael Nadal’s Neurotic On-Court Habits

Rafa Nadal may seem to act like an ordinary tennis player when you see him on screen during matches. However, this champion tennis player has some unusual habits before and during the game such as, he always take a cold shower forty five minutes before every game, he points the labels of his drinking bottles to the end of the court, he towels down after every point, and he never stands up from his seat before his opponent.

Caron Butler and Mountain Dew

NBA player Caron Butler definitely loves Mountain Dew… a lot. He was reportedly drinking almost half a two-litter of Mountain Dew before a game starts and when the game reaches half time. He even had to hide his Mountain Dew bottles from Kobe Bryant to avoid being caught and told to stop.

Patrick Roy and his Imaginary Friend at the Goal Post

Imaginary Friend at the Goal Post

National Hockey League goaltender Patrick Roy has an interesting technique to keep his focus on the math: He talks to the goal posts. Yes, you read it right. We don’t know if he has an imaginary friend that’s standing near there or he just doesn’t want the goal posts to feel lonely. Or maybe he thinks that if he befriended the goal posts, he will get more shots to ricochet out. Whatever the reason maybe, we think that talking to the goal post has worked because Patrick Roy is one of the best goalies in the National Hockey League.

John Henderson’s Face Slap

Almost all players have their pre-game rituals to help them be prepared for the game. Whether it’s a routine workout, comfort foods, music or a nap. But for football player John Henderson, his preferred pre-game ritual was having his trainer slap him in the face. Now that’s a good way to get angry and get his game face on.

Malvin Kamara- Willy Wonka

English football (soccer) player Malvin Kamara always watches the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory right before playing every game because according to him, the movie calms his nerves and helps him set his mind before the game starts.

No Peanuts in a Shell and no $50 Dollar Bills Allowed in a NASCAR Race

Peanuts in the shell are never sold at a NASCAR race. This superstition dates back to the racing era before World War II. Peanuts in the shell are considered bad luck because they were always found in the remnants of a badly wrecked car.

The no $50 dollar bill superstition started when a $50 dollar bill was found in the shirt pocket of NASCAR champion racer John Weatherby after he was killed in a car crash. That is why $50 dollar bills are considered a bad luck at racing.

Drinking Cow Blood Before a Match

This ritual was popularized by boxers who would often drink beef blood before matches. Sugar Ray Robinson admitted they he did this ritual in his biography. He said that he drank raw beef blood for vitamin fortification. Who knows, this ritual might be effective because Robinson had a 25-year career with 202 bouts and 109 of them ended in knockout.

Serena Williams and Her Socks

If there is such thing as a lucky bat, or a lucky scarf then tennis superstar Serena Williams believes in the power of her lucky pair of socks. Reports says that Serena only wears the same pair of socks in a tournament run. Serena Williams said that she once changed her routine in the tournament and it did not end well, so she sticks with her one pair socks to help her win the match.

The Ecuadorian National Soccer Team’s “Witch Doctor”

When the Ecuadorian National Soccer Team needed some help to win the game against Germany in the 2006 World Cup, they asked the help of Tzamarenda Naychapi, a mystical doctor, priest, shaman type of  person that helps call the aide of supernatural spirits. It has been said that Naychapi visited the twelve stadiums that were being used in the World Cup and chased away evil lingering spirits and spread magic on the pitches and goals.

Michael Jordan and his Shorts

If Serena Williams believes in her lucky pair of socks then Michael Jordan has every right to believe in the power of his magical shorts. Apparently, he wore a longer pair of NBA shorts to make room for his lucky North Carolina shorts. He reportedly wore his lucky pair of shorts underneath his main uniform shorts throughout his career.

Tiger Woods Wearing Red During Sundays

Famous golfer Tiger Woods can always be seen wearing a red shirt during big events which always was done during his play on the final round on Sunday. Tiger Woods said that it became a habit that he was stuck with and he didn’t want to stop when he was winning so many tournaments.

These are some the more strange and unusual sports rituals and superstitions we gathered for you. We hope that you had fun reading this article as much as we had fun writing it.

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