The Power of Superstition: SIU Athletes do This to play their best


By Cole Daily, Staff Reporter

Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher would always eat two chocolate chip cookies before every game. NBA legend Michael Jordan would wear his basketball shorts he wore at the University of North Carolina under his Chicago Bulls uniform in every game he played. Superstitions are one of the foundations of sports. There are many notable superstitions in the sports world people may have heard of.

Of all the athletes that play at SIU, many have traditions, superstitions, or certain things they must do before performing. These traditions can be found all across SIU sports.

Junior cheerleader Abigail Clemens said that she ties her right shoe tighter than her left before every performance. She said it was an accident one day, but noticed it helped with her leaps.


“When I fly, I go up on my right leg. So if my right shoe is tighter than my left, it helps me fly better,” Clemens said.

Clemens said she is a very superstitious person outside of sports as well.

In sports like basketball and volleyball, pregame rituals and routines are common practice. Whether you’re getting to serve the ball into play or lining up for a free throw, superstition is built into your system.

On the women’s basketball team, senior guard Caitlin Link said she always wipes her shoes before free throws. For years, she always put her hair in a side ponytail, because she felt she used to play better in that style.

“I’ve had different ones throughout my career but up until this year, I’ve always had a side pony. My tradition was always with my hairstyle and the headband that I always used,” Link said.

Another superstition Link has is that she must wipe her shoes before shoting her free throws.

“That was always my thing before free throws, I feel like I always have to do it,” Link said.


Link said one of her teammates, senior guard Makenzie Silvey, always listens to music before every home game, to help get her in the right frame of mind.

On the men’s basketball team, junior guard Trent Brown said that he always has to take a nap before every game. He feels that every game he’s taken a nap before, he plays much better. Brown said he has some other traditions as well.

“I also pay attention to the order in which I put on my jersey. I need to make sure it all fits just right,” Brown said.

Brown always makes his trainer tap his ankle a few times after he’s done wrapping it. Brown said it’s like a superstitious inside joke between them.

“It’s kinda funny, but if our trainer gets done wrapping my ankles and doesn’t tap the side of my ankle before I get off of the table, I don’t allow him to and I make sure he taps it,” Brown said.

For the volleyball team, some of the players have pregame traditions. Sophomore hitter Nsia Gittens said she listens to Victory by Tye Tribbet. Sophomore hitter Tatum Tornatta said she jumps rope before every game to loosen herself up.

Many players’ pre game rituals include a prayer, and Link said this is essential to her play on the court.

“During the national anthem, I pray, and I do that every single game. If I don’t, I feel like I’m gonna play bad,” Link said.

Link said her team does the “All-Father” (a famous prayer in the Catholic church) before every game. The Salukis use this tradition to help bond the players before the game. Brown said the men’s basketball team also says a team prayer.

Volleyball players like sophomore Imani Hartfield, junior Nataly Garcia, sophomore Alex Washington and sophomore Bailey Neuberger said they pray during the national anthem as well.

Whether it’s a certain song, a pregame meal or a piece of apparel they just have to wear, many athletes have a little something they feel gives them the advantage. Superstitions across the sports world are as far as the eye can see.

Sports Reporter Cole Daily can be reached at [email protected]To stay up to date on all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter