In this article, I'll go over some of the weirdest superstitions practiced by athletes. From drinking your own urine to having three red bulls before a match, this list is sure to teach you something new. This is a list of the top 10 weirdest superstitions practiced by athletes, in no particular order. Without further ado, let's get right into it.
10: Kevin Garnett - PB&J and head banging ritual
You may know Kevin Garnett for being one of the best basketball players of all time. Recently, he was also included in the NBA’s 75th anniversary team. But what not many people know is he had his fair share of peculiar superstitions. Well, the first one was his need to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before every game. I personally find that very funny, given the fact that it probably hit him like a BOMB and it is mostly considered a kids’ snack. The second thing he did ever since he was drafted into the NBA, is banging his head against the mattresses installed against the baskets pole, which are there to prevent players from getting hurt banging into the metal structure. A weird superstition given the fact that it would probably hurt any person's head. According to Paul Pierce (his teammate at the Boston Celtics), he does it to mentally prepare himself for the game, and ever since he joined the NBA, it has been like a routine for him.
9: Tiger Woods - Red Shirt
This superstition is not on the list because of how weird it is, but because of the reason behind it. Tiger Woods is known to be the best golf player to ever walk the planet, and if you have ever watched him play during his golden era, you would notice he would always wear red shirts during competitions. Seems normal right? But when you find out the reason, it will definitely leave you a bit discombobulated. It's a simple reason to be fair: his mother told him so. His mother told him red was his lucky colour, and he went with it. I wonder why he didn't decide to change it. Well, I could probably say that it is because it actually worked, given the fact that he has won 15 major tournaments.
8: Lyoto Machida - Drinking his own urine (yes you read that right)
Lyoto Machida (AKA The Dragon) is an ex-Brazilian UFC fighter who, believe it or not, drank his own urine every morning. The former light heavyweight champion believed that his urine acted as natural medicine for his body. Now, I am no expert, but drinking my own pee every day is not something I'm looking to be doing anytime soon.
7: Jamie Vardy - Drink routine
Jamie Vardy is known for doing some of the rattiest stuff in world football. Being involved in a recent incident of breaking the LGBTQ+ corner flag, and celebrating a goal against Wolverhampton Wolves by howling like one, sure puts some attention on his name. Any insane person like him would have an insane drink combo, right? Well, indeed you are correct. Every night before a game, he drinks half a bottle of port wine, followed by three cans of redbull and a double espresso which, in his words, help him “run like a nutjob”. For context the port wine is a Lucozade, which has about 500ml of wine. This means that Jamie drinks 250ml of wine plus 3 cans of redbull AND a double espresso at least 24 hours before an official game. A crazy man if you ask me.
6: NHL playoff beards
The NHL is one of the most known leagues in the US and Canada. Legend has it that in spring 1980, captain Denis Potvin and his unbeatable New York Islanders grew playoff beards and went on to win the first of their four straight Stanley Cup triumphs. Ever since then, playoff beards are one of the most well-known superstitions in ice hockey. Even young players who can't grow a proper beard join in just for the fun of it!
5: Johan Cruyff - Criminal routine
P.S: Contains some exaggeration by me :)
Right now you must be thinking, criminal routine? What does that mean?' Well, Johan Cruyff, one of the best football players to ever grace the pitch, had a criminal routine. This consisted of committing a horrific assault by slapping his goalkeeper before the match, followed by some littering(😲). He walked towards the opposition's field and spit the gum he was chewing in the direction of the opponents' goal. Who would ever think that the creator of “total football” committed malicious crimes just for good luck? Yet, who am I to judge? He has accomplished so much with this superstition that who knows, it could really be super lucky.
4: Jason Giambi- Golden thong
I am not going to lie, this is probably the weirdest superstition I have EVER heard about. Some people have daily or weekly superstitions, but Jason only makes use of a superstition whenever he is in a slump, in other words, a bad phase which is constantly getting worse. But what Jason did to break out of this phase was uncanny in the eyes of some. He wore a golden thong under his uniform for good luck. But that's not even the worst part. That is that it seemed to work well, because some of his teammates would borrow the same thing when they were in a slump of their own. Just imagining it makes me cringe.
3: Turk Wendell - Black licorice straws
Turk Wendell is an ex-baseball pitcher who had a peculiar and most definitely unique superstition. Whenever he was on the mound, he needed to have four black licorice straws in his mouth. I don't quite understand why, but he did that every game. That's not the end of the superstition though. Nobody can complain about this part, because he was only really taking care of his own health. Between each inning, he would brush his teeth, and repeat all this process again. I personally hate black licorice, so this is something I couldn't possibly do without grossing myself out.
2: John Henderson - Getting slapped
The ex-defensive lineman who came in at 201 cm and 151 kg had an unusual way of pumping himself up before each match. The immense defensive player used to call an athletic trainer, who slapped him with all his force a couple of times, a few minutes before the match. Not only did the opposition have to face an intimidating giant, but he had anger stored in him after these slaps. If I was playing against him I would just leave the field. Like come on, who wants to be tackled by him?
1: Sergio Goycochea - Urinating before a penalty shootout
I know I mentioned in the title that these superstitions were not in order of weirdness, but I can't lie here, this one is the weirdest and possibly grossest in my opinion. Sergio was a legendary goalkeeper who took Argentina to the 1990 world cup final. To get there, however, they had to first beat Italy on penalties. And as you have read from the title, he urinated before every penalty shootout. Yes, he insisted on yanking down his shorts and peeing in front of the live audience and the people watching all round the world. It worked, because he saved two penalties and guaranteed Argentina a spot in the grand final. However, no amount of peeing could win them the final, as an 85’ min pen won Germany the cup. I don't know how I can defend the guy, simply crazy in my opinion. I imagine if only this had worked in the final and this became a ritual between goalkeepers.
This concludes my list of a handful of weird superstitions. There were also some I chose to not include, but you can hear about some other superstitions with the links I have stated below. Definitely some honorable mentions to say the least!