SPORTS: SCHS athletes share the importance of their superstitions

Both former MLB players Wade Boggs, who ate chicken before games, and Richie Ashburn, who slept with his bats the night prior to games, share a special practice with many SCHS athletes: pregame superstitions. Numerous Bruin athletes are serious about their superstitions and have found their own ways to increase their chances of winning with the help of their pregame rituals.

Volleyball player senior Cydney Ventura mentioned that her superstition involves fun hairstyles.

“I put my hair a certain way. If I played badly with (that) certain hair type, I never tend to use that again,” Ventura said. “Most of the time for games, I do pigtails or any sort of way to part my hair in two because I just see it as good luck.”

Ventura has been playing volleyball since third grade, but her hairstyle superstition began in the beginning of middle school. Ventura additionally feels superstitious toward the type of athletic wear and gear she sports, such as tape.

“I usually tend to go more towards only wearing long sleeves or having sleeves in general. I think that just having that, it’s kind of like a safety blanket, something that I can rely on so that I don’t get hurt,” Ventura said. “I also tend to put tape on my hands. It’s usually wrapped around my thumb because I use it for stability, and I also think it’s good luck.”

Varsity tennis player and wrestler junior Nicklaus Chui has various superstitions for each sport. Chui likes to wear his lucky hat and sunglasses during tennis matches.

“For the sunglasses, it’s a fashion statement because they’re Aviators and they’re more delicate sunglasses, so generally you wouldn’t want to wear them,” Chui said. “But I decided that I liked them more so they became my lucky pair of glasses, and I started using them for athletics all the time.”

Additionally, Chui mentioned his hat symbolizes good luck channeled from Roger Federer, a professional tennis player with a five-time record of Association of Tennis Professionals’s year-end No. 1.

“It was a Roger Federer hat. He was a tennis champion multiple times,” Chui said. “I work to try to get some of his luck.”

According to Chui, following through with his superstitions overall puts him in a better state of mind during practices, games and meets.

“I feel more comfortable. I just have less doubt,” Chui said. “It’s my lucky charm. I’m going to trust my lucky charm that worked out for me so far.”

When Chui does not follow through with his superstitions, he feels anxious, ultimately affecting his performance.

“I feel less confident in my abilities, so I make more mistakes, and if I have less faith in my abilities, then I do worse,” Chui said.

Similarly, JV basketball player sophomore Lara Holzhaus also feels unsettled and anxious at the chance of misfortune when she does not perform her lucky handshake with a teammate before games.

“It affects me mentally because sometimes we forget and then we have to do it in halftime, and it just throws me off for the whole game,” Holzhaus said.

Varsity soccer player freshman Alexandria Schneider has set a strict superstitious ritual before games.

“If I have a good game, for the next game I’ll do everything the exact same. So if I put my right shoe on first for that game, then the next game I’ll put my right shoe first then my left,” Schneider said. “If I have a bad game and I put on my right shoe first, the next game I’ll put my left shoe on first.”

Schneider mentioned it gives her an edge to her game when she follows through with such rituals. As a defender, she feels her superstitions give her the confidence to perform better in terms of her defense. On the other hand, when she does not follow through with her superstitions, both her physical and mental performance are impacted and she feels she does not reach her full potential.

“I just automatically feel like I’m going to have a bad game, and I feel like when I do that, I’m just bringing myself down because it gets inside my head that I didn’t do it (the superstitious ritual),” Schneider said. “Then I start playing badly and not being able to play like I know I’m able to.”

Color guard and winter guard performer sophomore Katie Hall mentioned her team’s one-sided superstition.

“Whenever we get to a campus right before our performance – when we’re walking to rehearse or to go to our performance – we’ll always make sure that if there’s a tree or a pole anywhere on the campus, we all have to walk on the same side of it or else it’s bad luck for the performance.” Hall said.

Hall and her teammates have had their superstition since joining the team, and many are especially serious about it. Hall enjoys the tradition because it evokes a sense of unity and community participating in a superstition alongside her teammates.

“We’re in an activity lots of people have never even heard of, so it’s just another one of our fun little inside jokes,” Hall said. “I don’t believe it’ll actually bring bad luck, but it’s fun when everyone participates.”