Softball Superstition

Interviewer: You’ve coached a lot of softball so I was wondering if you knew of any superstitions or beliefs that people have?


Informant: I’m sure there are a lot, and over time each player develops her own superstitions around playing. But one of the most prominent ones that I’ve seen, especially if both teams are on the field is that no one can step on the white lines before the game starts.  If they get messed up but natural causes or eventually throughout the game they get changed then that’s okay.  But if you mess them up before the game or purposefully step on them then players believe that they won’t get any hits during the game or make errors on the field or even lose the game.


Interviewer: So have you seen players do some drastic things to avoid touching the lines?


Informant: Oh yeah.  Players walk over them, jump, dive.  And sometimes they don’t even let their equipment touch the lines because that would be just as bad.  Both teams usually line up before the game along the base lines and they even avoid touching or letting their cleats touch the lines.


Interviewer: Have you seen people try to counteract the superstition or do the opposite to get rid of the bad energy?


Informant: I have seen players find unused white chalk and rub it on themselves or on their hands or up and down their bats.  In a way it’s like if you control the white chalk then it can’t hurt you or have a negative impact on how you play.



Background: Informant, Joe Reyes, has been coaching softball for over ten years and also played baseball in his youth.  This superstition that he witnessed affected the older teams he has coached and often the younger players were not so concerned with losing so their superstitions were not based around that.

Context: This interview took place during a family weekend at home.  The context of experiencing this superstition first happened when he began coaching teams with ages around 10.  This is when the players started learning superstitions from the older players and taking them more seriously.

Analysis: It wasn’t until I heard my dad state this superstition that I realized that most superstitions are passed down from older groups to younger groups.  In this case I learned my beliefs from my players but then with softball I had superstitions because my older friends told me that they were important and that winning was important.