USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘lucky socks’
Contagious
Folk Beliefs
Magic

A Cheerleader’s Lucky Socks

Informant Info: The informant is a 20-year-old female who was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Her mother is Caucasian, and her father is Hispanic. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida and works for Walt Disney World.

 

Interview Transcript:

Interviewer: I know that you were a cheerleader. When you were on the team, did you have any traditions or lucky items or phrases during games and competitions?

 

Interviewee: So, I was a competitive cheerleader for almost 10 years and at every single competition since I was 8 years old I always wore the same pair of socks. They were white with neon yellow stripes from American Eagle. I got in trouble every single time I wore them because they weren’t “in dress code” but I felt all the more confident in them. We didn’t win every competition when I had them on, but I threw all my skills and landed them. It was more of a superstition and comfort thing for me, but I like to believe they’re the reason we won many competitions (and not because we were actually good)

Analysis:

This superstition is common among sports participants. It is interesting that she acknowledges herself that she knows it is a superstition and that it served as comforting her, but still considers them as “lucky” socks. Yet, maybe the socks were indeed lucky, because by making her feel more comfortable, she was indeed more likely to perform more confidently.

Contagious
Folk Beliefs
Magic

Race-day Rituals

Informant Info: The informant is a 22-year-old male who was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and comes from a Catholic family. He currently is a senior at USC and is very into half-marathon and marathon racing.

 

Interview Transcript:

 

Interviewer: I know you run a lot of races pretty often. Do you have any pre-race rituals or lucky items you contribute to your success?

 

Interviewee: Before my very first race I made a pesto pasta, with broccoli, onions, and peppers the night before. In the morning I always had a small bowl oatmeal a cup of coffee, and like 3 Glasses of water. I did really, really good, so I consider it my lucky meal and make it before every single race I run, and only before races. And I always wear the same socks when run my race and I only wear them when I race. Ummm….And what else?

 

Interviewer: Why would you contribute is like a lucky meal or socks.

 

Interviewee: I would say the socks… well I would say the meal is one that’s like where I feel like…decent. And then…. But all of them were like I just I want to kind of keep it… because a lot of changes and… No matter what changes in my life, whether I change my race, or I get a different this or that or whatever I want to keep some things the same and the meal is something I enjoy it and it makes me feel good and also, I’m like I did well the first time I did it. I did really well uhh or had like a good race and so after that I was like I don’t really want to change it or kinda looked back at my what I did, and I was like: What do I want to keep, what I want to change, and I decided I wanted to keep the meal. Ummm…and, so I would say really well, and I was like I’m going to keep this and hopefully somehow it contributes. And for the socks, they’ve been the same pair of socks that I’ve worn every time I set a PR. And whenever I don’t wear them, I seem to do worse. So better safe than sorry, you know?

 

Analysis:

In folklore, this idea of a “lucky item” can be fit into the genre of superstitions/folk beliefs. There is no way to prove that it’s the meal or socks that actually help him in his races, but to him, they consistently do. The informant mentions this himself by stating that he considers them as his lucky meal and lucky socks because he has done well every time. By doing so, he doesn’t explicitly call them lucky, but rather he seems afraid to risk changing them and not having the same performance. It could be a simple coincidence that his lucky socks just so happened to be the one’s he was wearing when he set his PR’s, but it could be further analyzed by seeing if the socks have better cushioning or compression that help him maintain his speed. In this particular case, the belief in luck seems minimalistic.

 

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