Soccer Voodoo

“I played competitive soccer through most of my grade school experience. I started when I was 4 years old, in a recreational league, and then eventually moved up to different travel leagues and varsity soccer for my high school. Because I had played for most of my life, I was always really competitive when it came to specific teams that I had encountered in previous games. I always remembered specific girls that were either really good or played super dirty.”

“Before every game we would gather in a circle with our coach and discuss our game plan, lineup, and players on the other team to look out for. He didn’t know this, but after he left one girl on my team would bring out this little doll that she had gotten in Jamaica. She told us originally that it was a voodoo doll, and that if we wanted to win we had to kick around the doll and that would make their best player have a bad game. Obviously I didn’t actually believe that this would work, but we did it before every game. Each person would have to kick the doll at least once to make sure it worked. If it didn’t work we would all come up with different reasons or excuses as to why it didn’t work, like maybe we didn’t all touch it or did something wrong.”

“The girl was one of my good friends, and that I know of didn’t have any personal reasons behind this doll. She said she just saw it in a random tourist shop in Jamaica, and because she was a competitive player like the rest of us, figured that this doll could give us the pregame boost and confidence that we needed. Honestly, I think it did help us a lot. Even though we knew that kicking around a little doll wasn’t actually going to have an effect on the girls on the other team, it helped us better mentally prepare for the game and come out stronger.”


My Interpretation of the story:


It is clear throughout the story that the girls on the team did not exactly believe that this voodoo doll was directly effecting the girls on the opposing team. It seems as though it was primarily used as a mental game, for the girls to think that they have an advantage and in turn play better than they would have without performing this ritual. Traditionally, voodoo dolls have a lot of prerequisites to get them working and commonly have to be activated and have some sort of relation to the individual that it is effecting. Usually, voodoo dolls are tailored to a specific person, rather than able to be used for multiple different people. If the voodoo doll were to be used on different people, there would be no specific link between the doll or the person, which is a vital part of creating a voodoo doll. This ritual allows the team to become closer and prepare themselves as a group for the game they are about to play, but does not actually paranormally hurt anyone on the opposing team.