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Student athletes follow superstitions to victory

Cross-country+team+does+traditional+hokie-pokey+before+their+race+as+a+team+superstition.+Different+sports+teams+have+differing+superstitions+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Alex+Goldbeck%29.
Cross-country team does traditional hokie-pokey before their race as a team superstition. Different sports teams have differing superstitions (Photo courtesy of Alex Goldbeck).

Cross-country team does traditional hokie-pokey before their race as a team superstition. Different sports teams have differing superstitions (Photo courtesy of Alex Goldbeck).

Cross-country team does traditional hokie-pokey before their race as a team superstition. Different sports teams have differing superstitions (Photo courtesy of Alex Goldbeck).

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Student athletes across the nation have certain superstitions or pre-game rituals that they believe will help them succeed in their sports — no matter what the sport may be.

“Before every game, I write my number with my foot in the deck circle. But, before I get into the batter’s box, I fix the dirt so there are no holes, and it is smooth,” senior and softball player Gabi Medvene-Cirigliano wrote to the Talon.

Medvene-Cirigliano said she believes that writing her number in the sand helps her put her best effort into the game, and smoothing out the dirt helps her gain more power to pivot on pitches and gain speed.

“Whenever I write my number in the circle, I get at least one hit in the game,” Medvene-Cirigliano wrote. “I remember when I didn’t have time to write my number and I went zero for three that game.”

Karissa Garza, Medvene-Cirigliano’s teammate, has her own superstitions.

Whenever I write my number in the circle, I get at least one hit in the game. I remember when I didn’t have time to write my number and I went zero for three that game.”

— Gabi Medvene-Cirigliano

“When I throw the ball, my hands need to be put on the seams a certain way,” Garza wrote to the Talon. “Also, every time I go up to bat, I swing twice before I get into the batter’s box.”

Garza said she believes that when she throws the ball in this way, she has more force and hits her target spot on.

“I’ve never had a throwing error whenever I place my hands on the seams,“ Garza wrote.

Some sports teams have general superstitions for the entire team.

“One superstition that both I and the rest of baseball has, is to never step on the foul lines before the game,” senior and baseball player Trent Haines wrote to the Talon. “If you mess up the foul line chalk, it is horrible luck for your team and many think that this contributes to a team losing a game.”

Haines said that the foul line superstition has always been known throughout baseball. Many people see it as a simple courtesy.

“An individual superstition I have is not wearing batting gloves when I’m hitting poorly, and vice-versa. If I haven’t been wearing batting gloves and I’m in a slump, I will put back on batting gloves to change things up,” Haines wrote. “This helps change my mindset so I’m more relaxed at the plate.”

Haines said his superstition sprung from his travel baseball coach in middle school.

“I was not hitting well in a tournament we had in San Clemente, and he told me the solution to my problem was to stop thinking and to not wear batting gloves anymore,” Haines wrote. “This superstition helped change my mindset: I ended up hitting well for the rest of the tournament, and the superstition has stuck with me ever since.”

n individual superstition I have is not wearing batting gloves when I’m hitting poorly, and vice-versa. If I haven’t been wearing batting gloves and I’m in a slump, I will put back on batting gloves to change things up.”

— Trent Haines

Along with personal superstitions, pre-game ritual huddles and chants are popular among student athletes.

“Every night, before each game, the whole team huddles up and prays together,” senior and football player Reese Smith wrote to the Talon.

Other sports such as basketball and volleyball also have pre-game huddles.

“We don’t have too many superstitions in basketball, but before every game, we all huddle up and two of our junior players, Wes Slajchert and Riley Battin pump us up,” junior and basketball player Zeke Richards wrote to the Talon

The girls’ volleyball team has a ritual of their own.

“[Prior to each game,] we huddle up and talk about the game plan. Afterwards, everyone puts their right foot into the middle and I step on each girl’s right foot in the circle. [Furthermore], one person has to step on my foot also,” senior and volleyball captain Natasha Rybakova wrote to the Talon.

Rybakova also mentioned one of her own individual superstitions.

“On game day, I always have to have my hair in two French braids,” Rybakova wrote. “It’s just something I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember.”

Rybakova’s teammate senior Natalie Litvak also has a few superstitions.

I know that a lot of people do try to do superstitions, but I have found that it’s a distraction and it only will throw you off.”

— Itay Dvir

“At the beginning of every game, the captains and coaches are supposed to go up and meet each other and the refs go over the rules. Then there’s a coin flip and the visiting team calls it; if they get it, they get to pick if they want to serve first or pick the side they wanna start on,” Litvak wrote to the Talon. “When I was a captain, I would always call tails; it’s kind of always been lucky for me.”

Despite the many athletes who have a wide range of superstitions, junior and basketball player Itay Dvir explained why he does not have any.

“I’m not really of the superstitious type,” Dvir wrote to the Talon. “I know that a lot of people do try to do superstitions, but I have found that it’s a distraction and it only will throw you off.”

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