For as long as there have been sports, there have been pre-game rituals and superstitions to go along with it. No sport in the world is immune to these types of strange antics done by players, coaches and fans alike.
Every year, different media outlets publish articles compiling all of the strangest pre-game rituals or superstitions from around the world of sport. Some of the best athletes in the world make the lists with their quirky habits.
In the hockey world, Wayne Gretzky, considered to be the best player of all time, had a number of pre-game superstitions that included putting his equipment on in a particular order, firing his first warm-up puck in the same spot, and putting baby powder on his stick before the game started. Former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy, considered his posts to be his best friends. During the national anthems, he would have a regular conversation with his metal friends and tap them for good luck.
Concordia Women’s Hockey team shares some similar pre-game rituals. Like Gretzky, many players put their equipment on in a special order. It is also fairly common to see some of the players dance before and after the game in the dressing room.
Forward Veronique Laramee Paquette said that she makes a point to never touch the goalie at all on game day. Whether this works or not, she has scored in four straight games.
Soccer players are no strangers to superstitions and rituals either. One of the most common ones includes grabbing the grass when walking on the pitch and making a sign of the cross right after.
“I have a little turtle around my neck and I kiss it before a game,” said Men’s Soccer striker Andrew Bryan. “And I usually put white socks over black.”
Defender Enos Osei turns to technology to get himself ready for matches.
“I like to watch soccer games on YouTube,” he said. “That gets me pumped before, and it gives me an idea of what I can do on the field.”
Although they could be seen as a pre-game ritual, many athletes will always have the same meal on gameday. Pasta dishes seem to be the food of choice, but the professional sports world has seen some weirder snacks. Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs went out of the way to eat chicken before games, while current Montreal Impact defender Zarek Valentin always eats gummy bears before taking to the pitch. Other athletes turn to soft drinks like NBA player Caron Butler. Butler drinks half a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew prior to games and finishes it at halftime.
Members of the Concordia Stingers football team related to this. Some players stuck to the same pre-game breakfast, while another would only drink coffee on game days.
Pre-game rituals are not only subject to individuals. Professional teams in any sport will do team events hours before the game. Whether it is a team walk around the city or mini-games inside the locker rooms, the Concordia Men’s basketball team also have their way of preparing for games.
Last season, before every game, the entire team would do some yoga to get in the right mind-set. Fourth year forward Taylor Garner confirmed that the team still does this regularly. He says the group does it more for the mental aspect of it.
Athletes are a crazy breed and it is no secret. Players at all levels, be it professional, varsity and even every day recreational athletes have their own unique ways of preparing for games. Whether these pre-game rituals and superstitions actually work remains to be seen, but one thing is certain that every athlete will do whatever it takes to get lady-luck on their side.