In my years of playing competitive sports, I’ve encountered numerous personalities – allowing me to witness the superstitions many athletes have. They range from interesting, to bizarre to flat out comical. It’s fascinating to see what some people feel they need to do to get themselves ready for game time.
I myself like to think that I’m not that superstitious, rather, I like to complete certain routines before I step on the hardwood. I don’t believe they will guarantee a win or enhance my performance, however, I feel they calm my nerves and prepare me mentally for the task I’m about to face. For example, the night before a game I like to eat a good dinner full of carbohydrates. A couple of hours before game time I listen to my ipod and start focusing on what I need to accomplish on the court. I never wear my uniform to the gym, as I prefer to put it on when I get to the locker room. I always wear 2 pairs of socks, with it being very important that my knee-highs end just below my knees. After dressing in my game attire, I rinse my mouth guard and head for the court.
Once I step onto the hardwood it’s time to start my warm up routine. This is where I like to complete things in 3’s or multiples of 3’s. First its layups from the right, left and center, then form shooting just outside the key from the right, left and center. After I complete these 2 sets and have made my shots in succession without a miss, I’m ready to shoot around and get into team drills.
The only real superstition that I’ll actually call a superstition is ‘knock on wood.’ Whenever a bad thought passes through my mind or I start thinking negatively, I either knock on my forehead or literally knock on some wood nearby. Whether it’s saved me from injury or making future mistakes – I’ll never know. But the thought of doing it is a security blanket; I convince myself that I’ve scared the negativity away! A little strange, I know – but it works for me.
My superstition is naught compared to what I’ve seen past and present teammates do. I’ve had teammates who wear the same spandex, sports bra or underwear every game day. People who put on their right sock before the left, left shoe before their right and put their shorts on left leg, right leg and so on. Some need to be the first out of the locker room or first one in. Many need to listen to the exact same song before hitting the court. The craziest one I witnessed was a girl who said she needed to take the first shot of the game no matter what. The funny thing is she actually tried to do it every time – good shot or bad. WHAT?! I’m pretty sure the first shot of the game should be the first open look someone has, not whether it’s a part of your superstitions or not. That one was weird and come to think of it, very selfish.
That being said, everyone has their own superstitions that they believe help prepare them for their performance. There’s no right or wrong – its just an interesting concept that toes the line between sanity and being OCD.
Basketball Update: Last weekend in the playoff semi-finals we lost the first game of the best of 3 series, putting us in a do or die situation tomorrow. I hate having my back against the wall, but have a good feeling about this weekend. We couldn’t have played worse in our first game out. Being on the road, in a gym that has given us trouble before, we shot terribly and played even worse defense. I’m going to go out and say, it was probably the worst game we played all year and was the worst time to be playing like that. Winning Saturday forces a game 3 Sunday – both to be played here in Madeira. This weekend is huge and if we lose, it’s literally over and I’ll be home next week. If and when we pull off these two games we live to see another week and play for the league title. So put on your red at home and be thinking of me and CAB Madeira!