“Yeah, I’ve always talked to the goalposts, ever since I was a kid playing in the backyard. I just feel like they’re my teammates back there, you know? They’ve helped me out more times than I can count. As far as what I say to the posts, that varies, but it’s usually something along the lines of helping me keep pucks out of the net. I think it comes from my early days as a fan. I used to be a big fan of Patrick Roy, and he was really superstitious, so I kind of took after him with all the superstition, talking to the posts is a big one. It’s basically my way of giving 110%, I’m asking for the posts to be an extension of my game and not bank shots in behind me.”
My informant, who is white and from New Hampshire, has been practicing this superstition since his early days as a goalie, and learned it from French-Canadian goaltender Patrick Roy. He interprets it as a necessary part of his game, though he also understands how crazy the whole thing sounds.
My informant hails from New Hampshire, a state in which hockey is very popular. The folk group that this superstition is relevant to, however, is the hockey community, in which superstition is common especially among goaltenders. By extension, this is a category of sports superstition.
My informant’s superstition is a form of magic superstition, in which one takes action to ensure a certain outcome. While it does not neatly fit into a category of Frazer’s sympathetic magic, there are elements of contagious magic, as my informant views the net as an extension of himself and wishes to manipulate it even when separated from it. Or, perhaps, one could argue that it is similar to homeopathic magic, as my informant imitates the act of allying with a sentient force with the hope that such a bond will both be formed and be productive. This is also imitative as my informant emulates Patrick Roy in an effort to attain his great abilities. Either way, my informant’s practice strongly adheres to the idea that people engage in superstition to gain control or greater understanding of the uncontrollable world around them.
Beyond Patrick Roy, the origins of this superstition are unclear, though, mostly due to Roy’s greatness, the superstition has certainly become canonized among goalies.