Lucky Charms – Sports Superstitions Give Gaels the Extra Edge

Team celebrates WCC Tournament victoryWhat makes a good athlete? In collegiate sports, it’s hard work, the ability to juggle both sports and school and, of course, raw talent. Add a lucky charm to the mix and you may be ahead of the game.

We’ve all heard of superstitions ­– that Friday the thirteenth is an unlucky day, that breaking a mirror will result in seven years of bad luck, and that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But some members of the Saint Mary's men’s basketball team have their own superstitions, and they seem to be working.

Matthew Dellavedova, aka Delly, claims he doesn't do anything too crazy but admits, "I have a Wolverine figure that one of the coaches’ sons gave me and I make sure I put his claw's out when it's time for the game."  

And while Delly may not be so superstitious, there are those on the team who definitely are. Junior forward Beau Levesque wears baby blue arm tape because the team hasn’t lost a game in the five times that since he started wearing it. He also wears blue socks under his white socks, a routine he came up with back in high school.

Brad Waldow, a freshman forward, says he makes sure that at every home game he is the last one out on the court. You’ll never see Waldow warming up in his game-day attire like the rest of the team, either. That would be unlucky. He puts on his jersey right before he comes out on the court to begin the game. 

For teammate Mitch Young, it’s all about the footwear. “Before every game, I always put my left sock on first, then my right. Then my left shoe before my right."    

Many think it's only players who believe in superstitions, but it's definitely a team effort when the coaches take part as well.

Head coach Randy Bennett subscribes to a little game-day superstition when it comes to his tie. If the Gaels happen to lose, it's pretty much guaranteed that you won't see Bennett wearing that tie again.

Wearing certain colored socks and ties, as well as determining which shoe to put on first, is nothing new when it comes to superstition in sports. Several well-known basketball players have placed their faith in lucky rituals.  

One of the greatest players of all time, Michael Jordan, wore his University of North Carolina shorts underneath his uniform in every game.  

Jason Terry, shooting guard for the Dallas Mavericks, says he not only eats chicken before his games but also wears five pairs of socks to compete. And the night before each game, you can find him sleeping in the shorts of the opposing team.  

Whether it’s a tie, crazy socks, or simply a lucky toy action figure, superstitions seem to be part of the special psyche of sports.  

By Kim Cunningham '12 — SMC Sports Journalism Class, Department of Communication