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Posted October 31, 2012
HIGH SCHOOL JOURNALISM: Superstitions thrive in sports

The Mount Vernon football team wears Wigwam socks, out of tradition and superstition. (Calvin Kragenbrink photo/Mount Vernon senior)


Editor’s note: Here is your chance to tell your story about your team, your school or your favorite player. If you’d like to join The Gazette’s growing list of high school contributors, contact J.R. Ogden at jr.ogden@thegazette.com

By Calvin Kragenbrink, Mount Vernon senior

MOUNT VERNON – “Everyone quiet!”

On the bus rides to football games no one can say any a word. The bus rides are business trips and no one speaks.

Superstitions help people get ready and this is one that helps the whole Mustang football team prepare.

Almost everyone has a superstition they believe helps them for an event. Senior Logan Walker, Mount Vernon’s quarterback, said he always wears the same shirt under his pads.

“I also always eat a Jack’s frozen pizza before every game, home or away,” Logan said.

Logan only has superstitions for football, which is his favorite sport.

Mustang quarterback Logan Walker has several superstitions that got him ready for football games. (Ashley Ruden/Mount Vernon H.S.)

Superstitions are commonly practiced in a person’s favorite sport. Some may think superstitions can give them luck or the ability to perform better by doing this or that.

“I think that superstitions give them confidence in their ability,” Logan said. “I don’t believe in luck.”

Superstitions are personal things that can help an individual get ready, things that may be unorthodox, like wearing your lucky shirt under your pads. Logan has no reason for having his superstitions other than he did in once and had a good game. So now he has done the same routine every time since.

Senior Connor Welch, Mount Vernon’s catcher on the baseball team, has a routine that he likes to follow. Welch said  if his routine is broken it throws off his preparation for the event. Before baseball games, Welch would try to do the same things for a 5:30 home game.

“I would try to sleep in, move around a little bit so I wasn’t tired,” he said. “Then I would go to the field a half an hour early to either get some cuts in or get into game mode.”

Baseball is known as superstitious sport. With a lot of down time you have more things that you can do to help you with your next at bat or next inning you pitch.

“I had a bracelet that I wore during every game until the last third of the season,” Welch said.

When you hit a slump superstitions can change to help you play better.

“I started hitting poorly so I took it off and eventually did better,” Welch said.

Some common baseball superstitions are not stepping on the baseline, always having sunflower seeds, never talking about a perfect game and having the exact routine every time entering the batters box.

In the Mount Vernon home dugout, there is a plastic shark that hangs from the ceiling as you walk out to the field. When the Mustangs are behind in a game, “Murphy, shark attack” helps the team rally to win. The team also puts their baseball hats folded like a fin on top of their heads while their team is up to bat.

Boys’ basketball Coach Ed Timm has a few superstitions himself.  Timm has had the same whiteboard for 20 years. He was given a new one, but passed it to an assistant coach.

“Superstitions give people comfort, takes away the stress,” Timm said.

Timm also wears the same things to games while on a winning streak. Basketball is not a sport with a lot of down time, but,  Timm said, “sports without a clock are always the most superstitious.”

Junior varsity football coaches Ryan Whitman and Jeremy Hotz have been part of Mount Vernon football for a long time.

“Nobody talks on the bus rides to home or away games,” Whitman said. The silent ride tradition helps the team mentally prepare to play.

“Wigwams” have been the Mustangs’ sock for as long as coaches Whitman and Hotz can remember.

“They have been around since my dad was playing here,” Whitman said.

All Mount Vernon players are expected to wear white socks with maroon stripes.

Superstitions are the reasons athletes think they performed well and why coaches believe they won. That is why superstitions will always be a part of sports.

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