Sports – while providing an amazing level of enjoyment in our life – can lead some fans into the looking glass, from supporter to superstitious. Do you close your eyes and cross your toes before a penalty shootout? What about turn your shirt inside out and throw salt over your shoulder before a field goal attempt? These are just a few examples of how far fans will go to ensure their favorite team beats the clock and wins the game. We surveyed over 2,000 sports fans about their most common superstitions and how effective they think they are when it comes to the success of today’s most popular sports teams. Continue reading to see what we uncovered.
State of Disbelief
Interestingly, most fans (over 68%) believe their rituals don’t necessarily help their favorite teams succeed. Whether these rituals involve an unwashed jersey or not shaving a beard, respondents admit their individual activities probably have no impact on the performance of their teams. However, almost 11% are convinced the angle of their hat or placement of the remote control definitely influences the outcome of the match.
But while most fans claim not to be superstitious, some don’t act that way. When we dug deeper, we found that nearly 27% of fans believe they have influenced the outcome of at least one game in the past. Respondents also believe that almost 60% of fans are superstitious. In fact, just under 67% of sports fans surveyed perform some ritual for their team.
Some fans who claimed not to be superstitious seemed to unconsciously think just the opposite:
Others were direct in their support and offered instruction:
Most also felt the idea of curses wasn’t believable – just over 60% thought the idea to be rubbish. Yet that leaves a lot of believers. Who knows what this percentage might have been if the Cubs had lost the World Series last year?
If you’re at a friend’s house for a sporting event and there is an odor in the air, it might be a sign of how superstitious they truly are. Wearing the same clothes – hats, jerseys, or other items – is the most common superstitious ritual at over 36%.
However, there’s also the tradition of silence. Like a monk taking an oath never to speak again, nearly 24% of respondents are aware of fans who don’t talk about winning or losing until the game is over. It’s not only fans, though – broadcasters for Major League Baseball often avoid discussing the no-hitter or perfect game scenario. Maybe these behaviors aren’t as crazy or outlandish as some people think.
Words From True Sports Believers
Out of those we surveyed came interesting beliefs. One individual credits “lucky socks” that just happen to work, while others feel they “don’t impact the game.” There were some who couldn’t “avoid them” when they watched sports, caught up in the allure even they “don’t believe in superstitions in a logical sense.”
Perhaps the best is the individual who claimed sole ownership for the Red Sox World Series victory in 2004.
You’re welcome, Boston.
It turns out, respondents who gamble were more superstitious than participants who don’t by 40%. This could be because of their desire to make their own luck, or maybe they want to have some way of influencing the outcome of an event they really have no control over. You wouldn’t want to leave your earnings up to fate if you might have the slightest – and albeit wildest chance – of influencing the outcome.
Additionally, female sports fans were more superstitious than their male counterparts by 20%, but couldn’t have cared less about half time or period break rituals. Just give them the pregame and in-game action to worry about!
Good Reasons to Avoid Laundry?
Many fans have their superstitions, but few actually believe they impact their favorite teams’ performance. While they might be stinky – thanks to lucky shirts and socks that haven’t been washed or unkempt playoff beards and mustaches – most of these rituals are rather harmless. If it makes the game more interesting or keeps us more engaged with the action, who can call it anything other than fun?
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We surveyed 2,024 U.S. sports fans about their superstitions.
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