Superstitions, which can be of religious origin, a ritual, or even something as simple as a lucky watch, are important to many people. At Berkeley High School, many student athletes have their own superstitions to help them towards success.“You just want to be as comfortable as possible. And maybe that means eating the same food that day or eating something you can rely on. It won’t change up the routine and mess you up,” BHS junior Gracie Koch said. As a runner on the BHS cross country team, since freshman year she’s had a routine she goes through before every race.“I make sure to have the same routine every time I race. So the night before, I obviously hydrate a lot, because that’s just important. But I always have spaghetti with red sauce and meatballs for dinner. And then I always go to bed at like 9:30 p.m. And the morning of, I start by braiding my hair, and I do specifically two small braids in a ponytail and my lucky ribbons. And then I have my uniform out. And I always wear the same bra, the same socks, the same shoes, the same shorts, and then my jersey,” Koch said. Others, like junior KaluCaldas, a BHS mountain biker, have smaller things that they do.
“I personally, it’s kind of stupid, but I have my lucky socks that I always wear.”Sophomore soccer player Micaela Bedolla Garcia said, “I do meditation before my game. And it’s always four seconds breathing in, six seconds breathing out. And I have to jump up and down before the game starts.”However, these superstitions don’t just extend to student athletes. “A lot of … at least a lot of pro players that I follow … they listen to songs or they have a specific warm up or they have to watch a certain show before the game.” Bedolla Garcia said. For example, Christiano Ronaldo, widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, always steps onto the pitch with his right foot first, believing it brings good luck.
Even during the game, many professionals still have their own superstitions. Take professional tennis player Richard Gasquet, for example. Everytime he wins a point with a ball, he always wants that specific ball back for the next point, as he believes it’s his “lucky ball.” Retired baseball player Ichiro Suzuki always pointed his bat to the pitcher’s mound while tugging at his left sleeve before batting.
At any level, superstitions can be a key factor to an athlete’s success, even if it means looking weird to others. “These rituals are more about what makes me feel happy and good about myself. And I think what that does is mostly just making me feel mentally prepared and clear so that I can have a good race,” Caldas said.