It’s hard to understand why but since forever there’s been a strong link between sports and superstitions. People who don’t have them dismiss them as absolute madness, but for the people who believe in them they hold the key to their team’s fortunes, basically the difference between life and death.
Superstitions in sports affect players, fans and even match officials. According to the player profiles on sharksrugby.co.za Brad Barritt eats sushi the night before a game, Jacques Botes always puts on the left boot first and John Smit wears black underpants. We all have friends who make sure they perform certain rituals like dressing in a certain order, sitting in the same spot for the entire game and those who regard old clothing items as their lucky charms.
I don’t have any strong superstitions but my pre-match ritual does often include playing my special “psyche-me-up” CD, oh and if things get really tense I cross the fingers on my left hand when we defend and on my right hand when we attack. Whether or not these strange beliefs have any bearing on the outcome of the game is debatable but if they make the players and fans feel more relaxed or confident before and during a crucial game then perhaps they do achieve their purpose, albeit indirectly.
Another phenomenon that non-sport followers fail to understand is the commemoration of a certain sporting event. This usually happens as a result of a bet or dare but sometimes it also occurs voluntarily. One that springs to mind is the pact made by the Romanian soccer team to dye their hair bright yellow if they made it through to the second round of the 1998 World Cup. They did qualify and they kept their word by showing up with yellow hair in their first knockout game, which also happened to be their last of the tournament.
With beer and other “influential fluids” flowing before the match on Saturday, a lot of people will find themselves agreeing to weird bets and sure enough fifty percent of them will regret it after the game. I still have a clear picture of a certain grumpy Blue Bulls fan who had to take a picture in a Sharks jersey after the Bulls lost to the Sharks in a Currie Cup game last year. I’m pretty sure that I’ce and the rest of the “old bloggers” still have that picture as well.
I haven’t made any bets yet but if the Sharks get this one I’m seriously considering honouring them with a tattoo. Watch this space!
So let’s hear from everybody…any weird superstitions or bets out there???Tweet