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Superstition Is The Way (Hey Hey)

One of many experimental iterations ...

Jimbo

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Superstition is the way, at least according to our old pal, Stevie Wonder. Why do I find myself, at 52, STILL clinging to superstitions when it comes to the Washington Redskins?

We all know how superstitious professional athletes are. Many believe that performing a specific ritual before competition improves their performance. These rituals range from the clothes they wear to the foods they eat or drink; the warm up they perform or even the music they listen to.

Superstition is usually developed in hindsight, most often by accident, and then required in future events. A superstition arises when an athlete has a particularly good (or bad) performance and then tries to establish "cause and effect" by reviewing the facts of the day. They will notice things like what they ate or wore and they'll notice anything unusual that happened such as getting a haircut, receiving a gift or hearing a certain song. If they have a great performance they attribute their success to that unusual circumstance and attempt to recreate it before every competition.

Perhaps the real value in superstition and ritual is the boost of confidence and the sense of control that they provide an athlete. If you believe that doing a specific action or behavior will make you perform better, then you probably will perform better. This is the foundation of sports psychology.

It’s this sense of control, I believe, that drives fans to their own Game Day superstitions. Growing up, I would sit in the same chair while watching games or wear my “lucky” number 9 jersey. If they were doing well while my legs were crossed, they stayed crossed as they fell asleep and suffered the hundreds of pinpricks the sensation always brings. After all, what are a few hundred pinpricks if it helps my team?

As I got older and took over the season tickets from my father, what we wore, especially when it came to our lucky hats, jerseys, socks, shoes and yes, even lucky underwear, were necessary in order to help lead our team to victory. We would meet at the home of my niece and her husband and drink coffee, chocolate milk (great for recovering from Saturday night hangovers) and eat breakfast squares my niece had made. Okay, it was really a great big quiche but real men didn't eat quiche back then. ;) We always took the same exact route to RFK Stadium and we all had our assigned seats and didn’t dare switch and risk giving the Skins bad karma, juju or whatever you want to call it.

Our superstitions really took hold during Joe Gibbs’ first tenure. We were winning and most of us believed we were actually helping the team. This feeling was exacerbated by Joe Gibbs himself, telling us fans how important we were to the team. This REALLY made it okay for fans to refer to the Washington Redskins as “we”. We were now part of the team. Joe Gibbs said so.

This morning as I was stirring my coffee 46 times (it was 26 when Clinton Portis was still starting), I found myself thinking about superstitions and why I still go through these gyrations throughout the week and on Game Day. I guess even old guys like me still want to believe in Karmic justice and that, when all is right with the universe, we can still make a difference. All hasn’t been right with the universe for many, many years but I get the feeling we’re getting closer and closer each week.

Anyone else out there superstitious? ;)
 

Om

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This thread so needs a soundtrack. :)

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDZFf0pm0SE[/media]

Well done brother. If this doesn't make BGOverdrive I'm quitting.

Before I give my own take, I'm curious ... do you make a distinction between superstition and ritual?
 
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Neophyte

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Wow...very nice, Jimbo.

Wish I had a lot to share but I don't, at least not a lot. I drink my morning coffee on game day out of a Skins 50th anniversary mug (it has been through the dishwasher so many times you can no longer read the log on the side and all the gold from the rim is gone). I sit in my "game day" leather chair which has been draped with a Redskin throw a friend made for me years ago.

If it's the first game or last game of the season, or a playoff game, my Darrel Green throwback jersey (the only jersey I currently own) come down off the wall to be worn for the event.

Sad there is so little, I know. Might have to do with being stuck watching on TV (it has been 30 years or more since I went to a game in person).
 

Jimbo

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Om, I guess ritual is really habitual superstition. Anything new I start doing is superstition that can become a ritual.

If I want a particular guy to have a good game or think he NEEDS to have a good game, his number is how many times I might go around my Redskins mug when stirring the sugar into my coffee. It's usually a running back although last year I stirred 17 times a lot. Now, if I'm just adding milk, I'll only stir 5 times for Donovan. At some point, I should probably give Carlos Rogers a nod. ;)

While watching a game, if I have the remote in my left hand and our boys are playing poorly, I'll either switch hands or put it away. If they're doing well, it stays in that hand until the moisture from a sweaty palm attempts to short-circuit said remote.

It may be silly and it may be sad but such is life when you are a fan of this team. :)
 
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fansince62

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Superstition is the way, at least according to our old pal, Stevie Wonder. Why do I find myself, at 52, STILL clinging to superstitions when it comes to the Washington Redskins?

We all know how superstitious professional athletes are. Many believe that performing a specific ritual before competition improves their performance. These rituals range from the clothes they wear to the foods they eat or drink; the warm up they perform or even the music they listen to.

Superstition is usually developed in hindsight, most often by accident, and then required in future events. A superstition arises when an athlete has a particularly good (or bad) performance and then tries to establish "cause and effect" by reviewing the facts of the day. They will notice things like what they ate or wore and they'll notice anything unusual that happened such as getting a haircut, receiving a gift or hearing a certain song. If they have a great performance they attribute their success to that unusual circumstance and attempt to recreate it before every competition.

Perhaps the real value in superstition and ritual is the boost of confidence and the sense of control that they provide an athlete. If you believe that doing a specific action or behavior will make you perform better, then you probably will perform better. This is the foundation of sports psychology.

It’s this sense of control, I believe, that drives fans to their own Game Day superstitions. Growing up, I would sit in the same chair while watching games or wear my “lucky” number 9 jersey. If they were doing well while my legs were crossed, they stayed crossed as they fell asleep and suffered the hundreds of pinpricks the sensation always brings. After all, what are a few hundred pinpricks if it helps my team?

As I got older and took over the season tickets from my father, what we wore, especially when it came to our lucky hats, jerseys, socks, shoes and yes, even lucky underwear, were necessary in order to help lead our team to victory. We would meet at the home of my niece and her husband and drink coffee, chocolate milk (great for recovering from Saturday night hangovers) and eat breakfast squares my niece had made. Okay, it was really a great big quiche but real men didn't eat quiche back then. ;) We always took the same exact route to RFK Stadium and we all had our assigned seats and didn’t dare switch and risk giving the Skins bad karma, juju or whatever you want to call it.

Our superstitions really took hold during Joe Gibbs’ first tenure. We were winning and most of us believed we were actually helping the team. This feeling was exacerbated by Joe Gibbs himself, telling us fans how important we were to the team. This REALLY made it okay for fans to refer to the Washington Redskins as “we”. We were now part of the team. Joe Gibbs said so.

This morning as I was stirring my coffee 46 times (it was 26 when Clinton Portis was still starting), I found myself thinking about superstitions and why I still go through these gyrations throughout the week and on Game Day. I guess even old guys like me still want to believe in Karmic justice and that, when all is right with the universe, we can still make a difference. All hasn’t been right with the universe for many, many years but I get the feeling we’re getting closer and closer each week.

Anyone else out there superstitious? ;)
great post! I never grow tired of these!

must confess...I put my ST Jersey on before every game. For 3 of the games this yr I took it off at half time because of "bad karma". we won all 3 games...I know.....I know.....nuts!!!! wore it for the entirety of the other 3: losses!
 
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Alaskan

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We are 2-0 this year when I wear my Riggins jersey to the sports bar and 0-2 when I wear my Ade Jimoh jersey. So I'm wearing Riggins today.

One of the guys I watch the game with suggested that I burn the Jimoh jersey. But that doesn't seem fair. After all he got burned plenty of times when he played for us.
 

Burgundy Burner

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I don't have any superstitions - adding, until recently. It seems that when I was not in chat for two games, the Redskins won. Last week, I was in and out of chat and we lost. Don't be surprised if you see me avoiding chat today - at least until the game is decided. :)
 

Elephant

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This thread reminds me of a story I believe some of you have heard, but it is a ritual I no longer do, so...

One thing I learned a long time ago is that trash talk before a game causes me to eat crow way more often than I like. So over the years I have learned to refrain from it, mostly.

Anyway my friend Bobby and I have been talking Redskins/Cowgirls trash since the 6th grade, 30 years ago. On the Sunday before the 2 TD's to Moss with 4 minutes left in the 14-13 victory, Bobby called me before the game talking much trash about how bad our offense was and the Girls were gonna kick our ***. Neither of us had ever called before the game, ever! Well, after the game he wouldn't answer the phone for over a week! LOL!

Then, inexplicably, he calls again later in the season the day before we whooped them 35-7, he called me again to say we got lucky the first game. Well, he didn't answer the phone for weeks again. LOL!

I pleaded with him to call me before every game from thereafter!

So, learning my lesson from the actions of a Cowgirls' fan, I rarely talk smack before the game.
 

Jimbo

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This thread reminds me of a story I believe some of you have heard, but it is a ritual I no longer do, so...

One thing I learned a long time ago is that trash talk before a game causes me to eat crow way more often than I like. So over the years I have learned to refrain from it, mostly.

Anyway my friend Bobby and I have been talking Redskins/Cowgirls trash since the 6th grade, 30 years ago. On the Sunday before the 2 TD's to Moss with 4 minutes left in the 14-13 victory, Bobby called me before the game talking much trash about how bad our offense was and the Girls were gonna kick our ***. Neither of us had ever called before the game, ever! Well, after the game he wouldn't answer the phone for over a week! LOL!

Then, inexplicably, he calls again later in the season the day before we whooped them 35-7, he called me again to say we got lucky the first game. Well, he didn't answer the phone for weeks again. LOL!

I pleaded with him to call me before every game from thereafter!

So, learning my lesson from the actions of a Cowgirls' fan, I rarely talk smack before the game.
Great story. I learned long ago to never trash talk for the same reason. I also learned to never bet money on the Skins. I can't ever remember actually winning a bet so I've refrained ever since.
 

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