“I watched my upperclassmen doing this at my first college parties. After they dip their ping pong balls into the water before their turn, they would blow on it, and have nearby spectators blow on it too… apparently it’s supposed to coat your ball with good luck. More like germs, but I don’t know… It’s pretty much counterintuitive to the part where you dip it in the water in the first place.”
Background: The informant is a college student who has witnessed others performing the gesture of blowing on one’s ping pong ball prior to taking a shot in the game.
Context: This superstition was shared with me over FaceTime.
These rituals are reminiscent of the arbitrary “strategies” that schoolchildren come up with that they swear will help secure victory in a meaningless game. The informant goes to school in a different region of California, yet this strategy is still consistent with what I’ve seen people do at USC; I don’t know how such a custom of blowing on a ping pong ball was spread across college communities. There also isn’t any kind of online information that confirms this as a phenomenon in the general college community, so it is also unclear whether this strategy even exists outside of a certain geographical radius.