Superstition: Sports Luck


California State University Fullerton


Colorist for Cartoon Network’s Regular Show

English, Spanish

20 April 2011

Sports luck- Kicking the base of the flag pole.

“I’m a huge SC football fan. I’ve been going to football games with my family since before I can even remember. And for as long as I can remember, I’ve kicked the base of one of the flagpoles off Trousdale on the way to the Coliseum. I think I learned it from my father, he has been an SC football fan since he started going to the games when he was a Freshman. I don’t really know why I do it, I guess for luck and because that’s what my family always does. It’s a pretty common thing; you can hear people kicking the metal base plate long before you ever reach the flagpoles. The bases of the poles are scuffed and are so loose because of the thousands of people who kick it every game. It’s really funny when you get new fans that don’t realize how hard you have to kick the base to make a loud noise.  They’ll just tap it and it doesn’t make a noise. When this happens, it’s not uncommon to boo the person, unless they’re a kid or something.”

Looking at the act of kicking the flagpole, I agree with my informant. This act is an example of sport’s luck. People have thousands of different little things that they do prior to and during games to ensure there team the best chance of wining. If your team wins its because they are the better team, however if they lose, and you failed to adhere to your pre-game ritual, then its all your fault. The act of kicking the flagpole, in my opinion, is also a simple gesture to ward off possible calamity and for luck. It’s a superstition akin to knocking on wood after saying something is going really good. The act of kicking the pole can also be seen as a way for people to recognize the real fans that have stayed with the team for years. AT recalls a time when barely 15, 000 people would attend SC football games. In her own words, “Man we (the team) were bad back in the mid 90’s. Some fans started calling it the Dark Ages. The Coliseum was practically empty, you were a real fan if you stuck with the team back then. Now, we win all the time, which is awesome. But because of this, we get a bunch of bandwagoners that don’t know anything about the traditions.”