Monday, February 9, 2015

Sports and Superstitions

Before toeing the starting line of an important race, my approach remains the same. My pre-race meal is always two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I always wear the same socks. As well as wearing the same pair of racing shoes. Everything must be done exactly the same every race. There is a certain comforting feeling that comes along with following rituals. However, on the flipside, if you do not follow the same routine, you will feel extremely uncomfortable and uneasy. If I do one thing differently and I have a bad performance, I immediately associate it with my different routine. On the contrary, if I perform well, that difference quickly becomes a part of my routine. According to Liam Blackwell, athletes review the events and actions leading up to a particularly good or bad performance and believe that there is a correlation between the events and the performance.Throughout my time as an athlete, I have realized that superstitions and rituals play a large and irreplaceable role in my life.
Why do athletes believe so strongly in superstitions? As we learned in class, superstitions and rituals are often believed when a person feels out of control or uncertain about a situation. This is a possible explanation of the superstitions that develop amongst athletes. Richard Stephens states that when the stakes are high, an athlete may feel a degree of uncertainty. In order to regain confidence, an athlete would tend to follow their previous routine or carry out their previously established superstitions.

When thinking critically about sport superstitions, there a few Elements of Thought that play a major role. First off, the biggest concern amongst athletes is their performance. Therefore, the most important part of their career is their purpose and their goals. Their purpose is what helps to strengthen their belief in superstitions. In order for these superstitions to develop, the athlete analyzes the information. If a 100 meter runner drops 0.70 seconds from one race to another, he may use this information to develop superstitions. The runner may make an inference that wearing white socks led to his drop in time. However, logic would say that the improvement in time is due to other factors. These factors may include healthier habits, a more regulated sleep schedule, or the previous work that has been done is catching up to his body. Although most athletes understand that these superstitions are irrational, they continue to carry out these rituals.

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