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Thursday Cannon Fodder: superstition

No, not the Stevie Wonder song.

Global Citizen Together At Home Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Sports and superstition go hand in hand. Players have their gameday routines down to a T — some of them even go so far as to eat the same pregame meal, park in the same spot, put their equipment on in the same order, and so on. Others are superstitious only so long as their team is winning or they’re scoring / playing well, and they’ll change things once the luck changes.

I remember Wayne Gretzky’s autobiography first turned me onto sports superstitions. Back when he played for the Oilers, he had an old, beat-up garter belt (hockey players use them to hold up their hockey socks) that he’d had since his days playing junior. It was ripped and used a looney (or was it a tooney) in place of one of the clips. At some point, he couldn’t find it before a game and was panicked. He tore the locker room apart looking for it but couldn’t find it. He ended up having to distress a new one to try to copy his missing garter; he wrote that he used a scissors to cut it up a bit, threw it around the room to beat it up, and, of course, removed one of the clips in favor of a coin.

If you follow TSF on Twitter (if you don’t, uh, what are you waiting for?!), you’d know that I, too, have been riding the good luck a superstition brings. I got the white away kit for Christmas and wore it on Boxing Day. Arsenal won. I wore it again during the Brighton match. Arsenal won. I’ve worn it for every match during the current winning streak save the FA Cup, because I didn’t want to risk using up the luck in the shirt in a non-league match. I’m going to continue wearing it while watching matches until the Gunners lose.

Of course, if they do lose, it’s not the shirt’s fault. Superstitions are silly little things we humans do. But if they keep winning, it was all the shirt. You’re welcome.

Do you have any sports-related superstitions?