USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘team superstition’
Contagious
Folk Beliefs
Game
Magic

Soccer Streaks

Informant Info: The informant is a 26-year-old female who was born in raised in Hickory, North Carolina. For the past 3 years, she has lived in Orlando, Florida and has worked for Walt Disney World as a Status Coordinator. For the pas

Interview Transcript:

Interviewer: I know you played soccer pretty much all of your life until you graduated college. Did you ever have any fun traditions associated with it?

 

Interviewee: For soccer in high school, we always gave everyone the option to dye a strip of red in the back of their hair (red was one of our school colors) right when the season started. It was like a team bonding thing we did, and it helped bring us closer together as a team (even though it was kinda dumb) because it was just something we all experienced together

 

Interviewer: Did you start the tradition, or was it already existing? Do you know if it still starts today?

 

Interviewee: Yeah, we started the tradition in my sophomore year, which was 2007. I’m pretty sure the team still does it, but I’m not fully certain. Either way, I think it was a good way to bring us together, show school spirit, and to intimidate the other team.

 

Analysis:

The informant became an active-bearer by starting this tradition among the team. I wouldn’t classify this as a superstition of luck, but rather a tradition to, as the informant said it best, “bring the team closer together.” If you can get along and be close with everyone on the team, then the team is more likely to succeed by sharing improved communication while on and off the field.

 

 

general

Rally Caps

Me: “So what is the general idea of the rally caps?”

Informant: “Ever since I have played baseball I have known about ‘rally caps.’ Essentially, when playing a baseball game, if a team is down in the later part of the game, it is tradition to wear the baseball caps inside out and/or backwards. I’m not sure exactly why this is but it’s a superstition that is believed from kids all the way up to professional players.”

Me: “Does it matter whether the hat is inside out or backwards or both?”

Informant:”Typically the hats are worn inside out and then if the players want to, they can wear them backwards.”

Me: “Do you have any personal experiences with the rally caps actually working?”

Informant: “Yeah actually when I was a Freshman in high school, we were down by three runs in the bottom of the 7th inning, which is the last inning in high school baseball. We were the last ones at bat because we were playing at home. Realistically, we didn’t think we were going to win but some of us just put our hats on inside out to see if somehow the rally cap could trigger a win. Ironically enough, the first pitch of the inning we hit a home run. From that point on we knew it had to be the rally caps, haha. The next batter grounded out but then the next two batters got hits. Eventually we scored in the runs and won the game. Because we put the rally caps on from the start, our superstition was confirmed.. Well at least for the time being.”

Me:”Do you know where you first heard about the rally caps from?”

Informant:”Honestly I have no idea. It was just one of those things that you know growing up as a baseball player.”

Analysis: Like many other superstitions, this form of Folklore was a superstition that involved an item used within the particular sport. The roots of this lore are unknown but continue to be widely used in all levels of baseball. One can see players with stacks of inside-out caps on their heads during the latter parts of baseball games.

Information of the Informant: The informant is my brother who played baseball up until he was seventeen years old. He is an avid baseball watcher and could essentially state every stat from every player in the MLB.

Material
Protection
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Lucky Penny

So this is a team ritual for the St. Champion Outlaws, my old cheer team:

Every year before Nationals, we would get a penny of that year… our coach would give us a brand new penny of that year and the coach would get it done and like drill 2 holes in the side. And we would unlace our shoes and put it on the top of our right shoe (demonstrates to the front part) so you can see it… so imagine your shoes are laced, it’s on the top right of your shoe. So, we always prayed before we’d go on for health and safety on the floor and we’d all put our right foot in, which is the foot with the lucky penny.

How long has this been a team tradition?

I know it’s been for years… maybe a parent or one of the coaches thought it was cute. I think originally it was a penny on a necklace, but then they realized you can’t wear jewelry for competitions, so we laced it in our shoes. It’s like a lucky penny.

Why do you think they’ve kept it going all these years?

Um…it’s just a good luck thing and then it became a superstitious tradition.

Context:

My roommate told me this tradition when I asked her if she had any folklore. At first, she insisted “Asian people don’t have that.” But, after I explained what folklore was and that rituals and superstition counts. She told it to me one-on-one and I already knew competitive cheer was a huge part of her life.

Thoughts: 

A physical reminder before the competition of all the work put into the year serves as an important ritual. It clearly meant a lot to her and I know she is still in contact with her teammates and coaches. Plus, it is a great souvenir for after Nationals.

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