Piece by Kwazi Dlamini – FabMags Intern
Every sportsman and woman has a way of avoiding bad luck in sports. If you play sport, there has to be one thing you do that you know brings you that extra bit of luck – from lucky underwear, lucky socks, lucky boots and being the last out of the change room…the list goes on.
My superstition, as a soccer player, is to always touch the match ball and give it a few taps before kick-off as I believed it would make me score goals. Now, with the Rugby World Cup fever hitting our homes, we have seen some of their weird superstitions already.
Sport superstitions are usually done secretively and cautiously so that the opposition doesn’t notice – for example, the Welsh rugby team would usually get sick and literally throw up before the game; this ritual apparently prepares them for the game ahead.
The Springboks always pray together before a game while New Zealand performs the Haka – a traditional war dance – before the game, which they believe intimidates the opposition.
While I was watching South Africa’s shocking defeat to Japan, I noticed that Japanese full-back Ayumu Goromaru always did something with his hands – like putting them together and crossing his fingers before kicking a penalty or conversion. (It obviously worked for him that day.)
While athletes are perceived as health freaks who always want to stay in the finest shape, that is not the case for Springboks veteran lock Victor Matfield…as he eats high-calorie junk food the day before a match. It has clearly worked in his favour, as he is considered one of the best locks in the world.
Meanwhile, Wallabies scrum-half Nick Phipps quickly does a Sudoku puzzle before each game to concentrate. Aaron Smith, who plays scrum-half for the All Blacks has quite a few rituals of his own; the 26 year old always puts on his left boot first, he touches the grass every time he runs onto the pitch and wears the same sweatband for every game.
Superstitions may not actually win you the game but they do give you a sense of confidence, the will to win and moral boost: “okay, today I’m going to do great because I did everything right”.