Superstitions are a very big part of sports at all levels. Fans have a ton of superstitions that they feel can have a big positive or negative impact on the game. These can range from things such as sitting a certain way on the couch or wearing a certain item of clothing.
But did you also know that this superstitious behavior isn’t only limited to fans? Athletes, coaches and other sports figures also believe that doing a certain thing in a certain way can affect the outcome of the game.
So read on and enjoy some of the strangest superstitions in sports history!
10. Turk Wendell
Turk Wendell is a former baseball player and is one of the weirder spots on this list. During his time as a pitcher in the MLB, Wendell had numerous strange superstitions that he did every game. For starters, Wendell always needed to have four black liquorice chews every time he was on the mound. And it only gets weirder from there. Wendell always wore a necklace made of real animal bones and teeth and also would brush his teeth in between each inning in the dugout. If that type of stuff doesn’t belong on this list, then we don’t know what does!
9. 2006 Ecuador World Cup Team
This was a weird one that actually seemed to have worked out for the better. The 2006 World Cup team from Ecuador used a very uncommon and unconventional tactic to try and gain the upper hand in the tournament. The team brought in a shaman from Ecuador to visit all 12 World Cup venues in Germany in order to banish evil spirits from the tournament. Yes, you read that right. The crazy thing about this superstition that it may have actually paid off, as the 2006 Ecuador team had their best finish in World Cup history when they made it to the Round of 16.
8. John Henderson
John Henderson is a former NFL defensive lineman, best known for his time as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was one of the biggest and most intimidating NFL players of all time, and had a very strange pre-game superstition or ritual. The way the former two-time Pro Bowler gets pumped up and “in the zone” for the game is by calling over an athletic trainer, and having that trainer slap him as hard as he can right in the face, which sends Henderson into a frenzy. If you have the time, you should look it up on YouTube, it really is a sight to see.
7. Michael Jordan
Yes, even the greatest basketball player to ever walk the face of the earth had his own specific quirk that he made sure to do each and every game. Jordan, who played his college ball at the University of North Carolina, made it a ritual to wear his UNC shorts under his NBA team uniform. In order to conceal the UNC shorts, he began to wear uniform shorts that were slightly longer, which inspired the shorts of the modern day NBA. I don’t think any team would have a problem with a player wearing their old team’s gear under their uniform if it meant getting six championship rings.
6. Patrick Roy
Patrick Roy is not only arguably the best goaltender in NHL history, a talented and award-winning coach, and the one who popularized the butterfly style of goaltending, he is also the owner of perhaps the weirdest superstition in NHL history. Roy would talk to and have conversations with his goalposts. No, you didn’t read that wrong. Roy felt that by talking to his posts, they would be on his side during the game and it would help to improve his game. As crazy as it sounds, his superstition helped pave the way for his fantastic career, in which he won numerous accolades.
5. Barry Fry
Barry Fry is an English football manager who has managed a number of different teams throughout his lengthy career. For the purpose of this list, we will look at the Barry Fry that managed Birmingham City from 1993-1996. In that period, Fry had one of the absolute weirdest and grossest superstitions in all of sports. Before every home game at St. Andrews, Fry would go to each of the four corners of the pitch and pee on them. He did this because he believed there were evil spirits, and I guess he thought that his own urine would ward them off.
4. Jason Terry
Jason Terry is an NBA guard and one of the most prolific three point shooters of all time. He’s also a former NBA champion. He has a number of smaller superstitions, such as eating chicken before games and wearing five pairs of socks, but he has one superstition that sticks out above the rest. While his superstition isn’t gross, it is without a doubt unorthodox. Terry’s biggest superstition is that every night before a game, he goes to sleep wearing the shorts of the opponents that his team is playing the next night. How he gets these shorts is not clear, but it’s likely he has amassed quite a collection over the years!
3. Caron Butler
Caron Butler is an NBA forward who currently plays for the Sacramento Kings, but has enjoyed a long 10+ year NBA career with a number of teams. Butler’s superstition began in college when he was a member of the Connecticut men’s basketball team. His superstition is that before every game he would drink half of a two liter bottle of Mountain Dew, and would then finish off the bottle at half time. This extremely unhealthy superstition of his continued into his NBA career until the coaching staff finally forbade his pre-game drink of choice when he was a member of the Washington Wizards.
2. Les Miles
Les Miles is the current Head Coach of the LSU Tigers football team, and led them to a BCS National Championship game win in 2008. Miles is also the owner of the number two spot on our list because of his weird and confusing pre-game ritual or superstition. Before every game, whether at home or away, Les Miles will actually eat a piece of the turf or the grass of the stadium he is in, and will do it again in high pressure situations. He said he does it because it humbles him as a man and lets him know that he is a part of the field and a part of the game.
1. Lyoto Machida
And coming in at number one on the list is former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida. His superstition is without a doubt the grossest and strangest that appears on his list. This practice is apparently very healthy for you and cleanses the body, but few take it up. That is because, every single morning, Lyoto Machida drinks his own urine. He picked up the habit from his father, who is a karate master. Who’s to judge if it works well for him, but it’s hard to argue that this strange superstition doesn’t deserve the top spot on this list.