see more about our community masks

Chicken, Gold Thongs, and Other Bizarre Game-Day Rituals

December 31, 2013

Frank Tillinghast

Superstitious Wade Boggs with a chickenIf you have played sports at virtually any level from youth leagues to professional, then you have probably developed a few superstitions along the way that you would swear up and down make you a better athlete or at least make you perform better! As it turns out, according to some fancy pants sports psychologists, you were right!

Whether it is Wade Boggs and his game-day chicken or Jason Giambi wearing a gold thong, there is an undeniable power of rituals in sports. According to Dr. William Wiener, “rituals are helpful in structuring athletes and helping them to prepare for competition… it insulates them from a lot of their own obsessive thoughts and from thinking about their nerves and what’s at stake in a given competition.” So it is helpful in focusing an athlete and calming his or her nerves.

Another expert, Dr. Jonathan Katz, believes the key is to focus on the repetition without becoming obsessive-compulsive about a certain behavior. Indeed, OCD is particularly common in athletes who need to be obsessive to excel at their sport in order to compete. Superstitions can help this by providing structure for the obsessive behavior.

In college, playing for URI club hockey, I sat in the same spot in the locker room for every practice and every game. Even today in men’s league, if I walk into the locker room late and my spot is taken, it puts me into a bad space immediately! If we lost a game, I would switch to new socks or a different tee shirt whereas if we won, I would not change a thing. Our goalie, who everyone knew not to talk to on game day, always listened to the same Rolling Stones album as he put on his equipment. I would bet the songs were synchronized with his dressing ritual. For more information on this topic, read this interesting article from Yahoo Sports!

Nomar Garciaparra had his little glove dance at the plate and Michael Jordan wore his championship shorts from 1982 under his Chicago Bulls uniform…. so what is your ritual and does it help you?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Ready to jump in?

SquadLocker helps simplify custom team gear, uniforms, and spirit-wear for schools, leagues, companies, & more so you can skip the headaches and fundraise faster.

Get Started

More from the Squad Blog

Back to School Check-In: How’s It Going So Far?

Back to School Check-In: How’s It Going So Far?

A new school year is underway for most students – in some form, anyway. While some schools have opted to re-open their doors, most are sticking with online learning, at least for now, with an eye...

Read More
We Tried It . . . and We’re All Smiles Under This Mask

We Tried It . . . and We’re All Smiles Under This...

Here at SquadLocker, we can't stop talking about the UA Sportsmask. And we’re smiling because this mask scores in so many ways. It’s got you covered at every position:

Read More
Return to Play Webinar Hosted by SquadLocker and Augusta Sportswear Focuses on Innovation and Tech

Return to Play Webinar Hosted by SquadLocker and...

SquadLocker’s Gary Goldberg and Augusta Sportswear’s Mark Botterill discuss increasing role of innovation and tech in safe return to play – Thursday, September 24, 2020

Read More
5 custom decorated items to add to your store in 2020 (other than apparel)

5 custom decorated items to add to your store in...

One of the greatest benefits of your SquadLocker store is that it serves as a one-stop shopping “mall” for all your apparel essentials from school dress uniforms to sports uniforms and practice...

Read More
See More Posts