This is an entry in Fangirlish’s What Sports Mean To Me series, where our writers discuss memorable sports moments and how sports have impacted their lives.
As sports fans, we all have our wacky, goofy, crazy, and entirely justifiable superstitions. While a part us understands that, logically, sports are completely out of our control, there’s also another part of us that truly believes that sitting in that lucky spot or wearing that same shirt somehow brings our team some mystical mojo that helps them win.
Hell, even athletes have their own superstitions. Whether it’s spitting into your hand before picking up a bat to bring good luck in baseball or bouncing the ball before shooting a free throw in basketball or wearing double-digit numbered uniform in football or avoiding wearing the color yellow in tennis. You name it, there’s a sports superstition that even athletes gravitate toward.
As far as superstitious fans go, I’d rank myself near the top. Just as much as I understand that shouting expletives at refs and defending calls or completely disagreeing doesn’t mean they’ll hear me and magically change a call, I understand that watching a game from my couch or from the stands means in no way can I control the individual performances or the outcome of a game.
And yet, I still have my sports superstitions. I have plenty. But I’m here today to tell you about The Jersey Superstition and all of the ridiculous yet sensible logic that goes with it.
I know I’m not the only one that desperately clings to an article clothing as a prayer for her team. Jersey superstitions are probably one of the more recognizable superstitions. As sports fans, we have absolutely zero control when it comes to the outcome of a game. So in a way, we try to find a way to gain some control. Now, it’s a complete farce. Obviously we have zero control over a game. Obviously the ones playing have the control, but it feels calming, in a sense, to believe that maybe you can have some effect on the outcome. Even though you know, deep down, you don’t.
Now, my Jersey Superstition lies heavily with football. Maybe it’s because there are only 16 regular season games. Maybe it’s because there are only so many opportunities to taste victory. Maybe it’s because I own almost 20 football jerseys. Maybe it’s because that’s where I’m at my most vulnerable emotionally. But football for me is where my Jersey Superstition soars high.
When it comes to the Chicago Bears, I’ll do anything to feel some semblance of control. That’s the one team that affects me like no other. They can make me feel like I’m on top of the world or on the bottom of a ravine slowly dying. It’s part of the charm of sports — the extreme emotional scale that one can swing throughout the course of a game or a season or a lifetime.
It was easier when the Bears sucked. Over the past eight years, I practically wore a different jersey every week. And yet, I still felt like if I wore the right jersey on the right day that I, a fan sitting at home, could affect the outcome.
But this past season especially reminded me of my jersey superstition. I’ll wear one jersey — and one jersey only — until they lose a game. So, naturally, I’d love to wear one jersey for an entire season. But that’s not logical.
This season reminded me of the power of a jersey superstition. Where the Bears went on winning streaks of multiple games. Where I wore my Tarik Cohen jersey six straight weeks (I washed it, don’t worry. I’m not that extreme). To the point where on Thanksgiving — the one time I didn’t wear my jersey — the Bears just escaped with a win. If only I’d worn that jersey, they’d have won comfortably and I wouldn’t have been internally freaking out. Not that the close game had anything to do with the fact that they were without their starting quarterback and playing football less than 72 hours after their last game.
Superstitions are a silly thing. You understand that they are. And yet, you can’t help but embrace them. Whether your team is trailing in the final minute and you cling to that lucky autographed picture or whether your team suddenly hit a skid after you switched seats in the second quarter. When you say it out loud it sounds ridiculous. And yet, you can sure as hell bet that I’ll be wearing that lucky jersey or sitting in that lucky spot and trying to do my part in helping my team win. Even though it’s ludicrous, it’s completely logical to a sports fan like me.
What are your sports superstitions? Share your thoughts here and on social media using the hashtag #MySportsSuperstition!