Tag Archives: back luck

USC Football Superstitions – kick the lamp post


NC: “Before a football game, when you are walking to the Coliseum, you have to kick the lamp post right before you leave campus or else USC will have bad luck in the game. I have no idea where that comes from, but my friend told me on our way to one of the first football games we went to our freshman year. We saw a bunch of other people doing it too, so we did it. Now, I always do it because I don’t want to curse the team with bad luck. It’s like subconscious, I mean I’m not superstitious about anything else, but I always do it without fail before the game. You only do it before football games too, nothing else.”


NC is a undergraduate student at USC. She is 20 years old, and she is a sophomore. She is from Seattle, Washington, and did not most of USC traditions before coming to the school. She originally learned of this superstition in the fall of her freshman year. She does not know the origins of this tradition. I collected this superstition in person and recorded her to transcribe what she stated.


University of Southern California, as do many old and large universities, has many traditions that are passed on through new students in each incoming class. Often, the origins of these traditions are lost over the years, as is the case with this superstition. USC has a very large culture that is very specific to the people who are a part of the community, especially regarding football. These might be hand gestures, songs, objects, or in this case, superstitions. Even though many people who attend this school are not superstitious people by nature, they still partake in this game day good luck action. Kicking a lamp post for luck is not based in reason, and probably seems silly to people who are not a part of the community, as is common with superstitions. However, the desire to be a part of the community and partake in rituals nudges people to take part in a superstition they might initially think is illogical. As a person begins to feel the belonging associated with partaking in certain ritual experiences, the person is more and more likely to do the act associated with the superstition, until they believe in the truth of the superstition themselves, essentially causing an illusionary truth effect. This superstition clearly shows cultural influence on a person’s personal beliefs.

Leave the Same Way you Came

L is a 53-year-old homemaker living in Winnetka, IL. L grew up mainly in the northern suburbs of Illinois, but she also lived in Germany and England for a while when she was younger. L speaks English primarily but she is learning French. L attended both the University of Southern California and the University of Wisconsin Madison for her undergraduate college education. L considers herself to be American. She does not really identify with her Welsh ancestry.

L: If my mom comes in the front door and leaves out the back door, or any other different door, she thinks it’s bad luck for either her or the homeowner. You have to leave out the same door you come in though. That’s whether she’s going into other people’s house or you’re coming in to her house. She insists that everybody enters and leaves through the same door. It’s very weird.

Me: When did she she start doing this?

L: She’s done this her whole life?

Me: Any idea where she got it from?

L: Probably her mother.

Me: Did her mother do it too?

L: I think so, but I’m not really sure. I vaguely remember her doing it.

Me: And it’s just bad luck?

L: I’m not really sure if it’s bad luck for the person entering and leaving the house, or the homeowner. Or both.

L talks about her mom and her grandmother who have/had this strange idea that one must exit through the door they entered through. They believe that if someone doesn’t do this then they will bring bad luck either to the homeowner, themselves, or both. L  does not follow this practice unless her mom forces her to and she thinks the idea that not following this will bring bad luck is malarkey. She does not like that her mom follows this belief because it is annoying when she is closer to one door but her mom tells her that they have to go out through the door she came in through.