Informant: “So, we had like this 2-inch little plastic baby and one of the captains kept it. So, before our soccer games, the captains would pass it around and everyone would kiss the baby. If it was forgotten, you would inevitably hear before the game someone shouting, “WHERE’S THE BABY?”. Looking back, it was very odd. Strange.”
Interviewer: “Was the baby said to bring good luck?”
Informant: “Yeah and also if you didn’t do it then it was bad luck”
The informant is a 19- year-old female from St. Louis, Missouri. However, she now lives in Los Angeles and attends the University of Southern California. She played soccer during her 4 years of high school, in St. Louis, and had this tradition for the first two years before she thinks the baby was lost. She said they might’ve gotten a replacement but it never stuck like the baby did. They would specifically kiss the baby after the pre-game warm-up on the side of the field, a few minutes before the game. She believed in the power of the baby and she says her coach was pretty superstitious as well.
The informant is one of my college roommates, who I asked to relate any folk beliefs or legends she had for the purpose of this project.
I think that this is a classic example of a pre-game ritual. The way that the whole team actively had to kiss the baby before the game in order to participate indicates to its nature as ritual. The baby itself seems to be acting as an object of contagious magic. Physical contact with the baby brings good luck to those who participate. The ritual also appears to be consistent almost of an occupational superstition. Although high school soccer is not an occupation, similar to what would existent in professional sports, the ritual would act as a way of bonding the team together, exposing outsiders and bringing overall good luck.