Wayne Gretzky would put baby powder on his stick before games and Serena Williams wears the same pair of unwashed socks throughout a tournament.
Even university athletes have their own superstition. Here are a few examples.
DuMont is a fifth-year player on the women’s volleyball team. She was tied for the AUS lead in points per set last season with 3.6.
She has a few superstitions during her pre-game preparation.
“It just gives me a routine, it’s not a must that I can’t function without it,” says DuMont. “I think it gets me in the mindset keeping everything consistent from game to game.”
Two and half hours before game time, DuMont heads to the Dalplex to get dressed. Her first superstition is that she wears the same spandex, socks and sports-bra. Then she puts on and ties her left shoe. Always her left shoe first.
During the game, DuMont always wears the same hair tie – until she plays poorly. Then she switches to a new hair elastic.
In between sets, she also eats one dried mango and one date.
DuMont isn’t the only one on the team with superstitions.
“I would say probably half our team has a few,” she says.
Shoveller is a new addition to the men’s basketball team. He played four previous seasons with Queen’s University and transferred to Dal in his final year. At 6’11, he brings much-needed size to Dalhousie’s line-up as they chase a national title.
Two and a half hours before every game, Shoveller drinks coffee and takes Advil and Tylenol. He doesn’t remember how it started but he says he’ been doing it for most of his university career.
In an email to the Dalhousie Gazette, Shoveller said, “I try to do it every game, some people think the coffee would make me jittery but it gives me a good amount of energy and the warm beverage is soothing in a way.”
Shoveller says doing this routine helps him get focused.
“Drinking the warm coffee is a way for me to sort of relax and get my mind right for the game.”
He’s played without doing his superstition; he says he tries to not let it affect his performance too much.
Dennis is a third-year swimmer on the women’s swim team.
Her superstition started when she was 13 years old. She was swimming at a meet in Victoria B.C. where her uncle was a volunteer official. Not realizing whom the swimmer was, Dennis’s uncle disqualified her for a stroke infraction.
“I think when you’re young and it’s the first time you have ever been disqualified, the first reaction is just you cry,” said Dennis.
Her uncle felt horrible and his wife made Dennis a small beanbag frog as a disqualification good luck frog. She even took it to her wedding day for good luck.
“It became very important to me and I would take this thing before every race with me and I never got disqualified again. But if I didn’t have it I would completely panic and I would look everywhere for it until I found it.”
When her brother passed away in 2014, they were allowed to put an object with him as a send-off gift before he was cremated. She put her frog with him for good luck.
Without her frog, she says she’s careful about not being disqualified. She’s found a new good luck charm.
“Instead what I do is I lick my fingers for some reason and I kind of point them up before every race for my brother and that is hopefully to replace the good luck.”