Messing with the Mojo – Athletic Superstitions

Macy Bunch and Schuyler Rose, Reporters

Many people have different types of superstitions that are a part of their routine whether it’s before a game, after a game, intrapersonal, or team-related. The fall sports athletes and coaches throughout our school have their own ideas of personal and team superstitions.

Starting off with football, Junior, Daniel Kejr always puts his stuff on in the same order. Shirt, black shirt, pants, socks, then cleats. Daniel said that as a team, they listen to the same songs, and the black shirts always stay back after everyone else goes out to listen to a certain song. These superstitions have been a part of pregame ever since Daniel has been in high school. Senior Quarterback, Luke Gebhardt, has more personal superstitions. Every Thursday, he’ll clean his cleats, and form a new mouthpiece. Every Sunday, he’ll go out to the school and do a short workout while listening to the same pregame songs. Unlike Daniel, Luke started these personal superstitions last year when he became starting QB. Luke said that as a team, they play solitaire in the weight room after school, then eat, then play the game, and lastly walk the field before each home game. “I would not say that these are actual superstitions, but we do the same thing for every game. We are very strict about what we do each time. Practices are basically the same every day too.” said Coach Mitch Gebhardt. When we asked about personal superstitions, Coach Gebhardt said he has a routine. “When the season is going well, I do most of the same things every week. Eat at the same time, wake up at the same time, and wear the same clothes every week.” Mr. Gebhardt has always been the one to follow a routine even during his younger years of playing and coaching sports. “I used to carry pennies in my shoes when I first started coaching, and I used to eat a candy bar and drink a Pepsi before almost every game. Even when I was in high school, I followed the same routine.” Neither the coaches nor the players believe that these superstitions actually work for them. “I think being in the same routine helps you play better, but the actual superstition doesn’t work,” said Daniel Kejr. Others would say that it is a mindset too. Coach Gebhardt said, “It’s because they practice hard and we have good players. The routine of things, when you feel like you’re doing things right, will not make a difference.” 

The volleyball girls also have some superstitions of their own. Senior Libero, Chase Gilpin listens to the same playlist on her phone before every game. Another superstition she has is that she has to put on her accessories in a certain order. Chase explained her order by saying, “I have to do my left sock then my right sock, my left knee pad then my right knee pad, and lastly my left shoe and my right shoe. It always has to go in the order of left to right.” Chase has been doing that ever since freshman year, and if she ever does it in a different order, her game will just feel off. As for team superstitions, the varsity girls always have locker room dance parties. These dance parties consist of the same songs and a dance circle. Also, the varsity girls always get together after they shake hands with the other team after saying good luck and have a little huddle to say a special message. Before every game, the whole team gets together and they have a prayer led by Junior, Lexi Jacobson. Lexi also has more personal superstitions like Chase. Lexi has two pairs of spandex that she will only wear on game days. Lexi also does her hair the same for each game. This year, it is a high ponytail with pre-wrap. It’s different every year, but whatever hairstyle she starts the season off with is the one she’ll stick with. The last of Lexi’s personal superstitions is that she is always first for hitting lines during warm-ups. Both volleyball girls agree that these superstitions don’t actually work, but it helps with the mindset. 

Up last for the fall sports superstitions is Cross Country. The cross-country team is a closely grouped team that has been following the religions of the previous teams for years. They have always done a pasta dinner two days before a meet, and mental imagery one day before a meet. These two team traditions have been around ever since Mr. Caselman started coaching. Coach Caselman only has 1 personal superstition of his own, and that is wearing a certain necklace, but only to League, Regionals, and State. Sophomore runner, Cali Augustine participates in the team’s pasta dinner and mental imagery. For her own personal superstitions, she does the same routine before every meet, and she has been doing this for two years now. Senior runner, Damian Jackson gave us more of an insight into what the varsity boys’ superstitions are. “We all listen to Dylan Sprecker’s playlist during pre-meet and the day of the meet. After meets, usually on Saturdays, we go to Applebees,” said Damian. Going to Applebees has been a team superstition ever since Dylan made it a thing, and it’s great for team bonding. Mr. Caselman isn’t a strong believer in superstitions because he usually grows out a beard during XC season, or wears the same outfits, but he hasn’t this year and the team has been doing great regardless.

Overall, many different sports and athletes here at Southeast have their own ideas of superstitions, but nobody really believes that they actually work. “It’s just a mindset,” was a quote that was said by most people. Mindset or not, every person and team is unique.