Superstition – University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Don’t shave on Game-day. (with reference to USC football)


The subject told me that its bad luck to shave (a guy’s face) on game day, saying that the team you were rooting for would lose. This is a huge superstition on USC campus, due to the obsession with USC’s football team. The subject is a member of the Trojan Marching Band and stated that this is a widely held belief for the band as well as most students on campus. When he told me this superstition a few other guys were around and he pointed at one and said you shaved when he played Oregon State (USC lost the football game this past season (06-07) to an unranked Oregon State). The guy quickly denied it, as if he wanted to deflect the blame of losing the game. It was obvious that they both believed and followed this tradition. The subject however was not sure how it started or why it only referred to shaving but swears it works.

I had never of this superstition before coming to USC, but that could be because all of the sports at my high school were not amazing. I think that this ritual definitely has a lot to do with the university and its tie to athletics, in particular to football. I do not think that the act of shaving itself has a lot to do with the custom, other than the fact that it is an everyday occurrence for men, and skipping it implies that they are doing something special. I think that if there were other things men did as often as shave, other than bathing, eating and sleeping, they would be equal contenders as to this ritual. I did find it interesting that both boys were so into the custom, and that the accused one was so quick to deny the comment. It really showed how fervently they followed the superstition.