Posted: 6:00 p.m. Saturday, June 22, 2013
By Steve Busichio
Gameday. For some, it's just another opportunity to sit down and enjoy some 49ers football. For others, it's that... and then some; it's a process.
Whether for superstitious or traditional purposes (or both), there are a wide variety of other components that factor into watching 49ers football. For those tied to material possessions, it's a lucky t-shirt; a favorite player's jersey; a hat so worn out that it could spontaneously rot off of your scalp at any moment; a coin you've kept in your pocket during that winning streak. For some it could be a physical action, like turning your hat backwards if wearing it frontward wasn't conjuring up good product on the field, or knocking on wood or tapping a random item at certain points in the game, or looking away during kick returns. For others, it could be a matter of routines. Maybe you take a jog before kickoff, maybe you eat the same thing for breakfast or lunch during gameday, or maybe you always drink out of that favorite 49ers pint glass.
Lastly, there's the idea of not so much doing things for good luck, but just avoiding bad luck. The almighty "jinx" falls into this category. It can be a person, or something someone says like, "No way they miss this kick," or "They got this game wrapped up," or the injury jinx (which I won't even give an example of, for fear of said jinxing).
There are a multitude of various rituals spanning from the ordinary to the insane.
Time can also be a contributing force. These traditions or idiosyncracies can be short-term, seasonal, or long-term. Let's take short-term for example. Maybe you notice that during a five-game winning streak you've gone to the same place to watch the game, or maybe viewed all five with the same friend; so you keep it going.
It can be seasonal. I've been falling into this category as of late. For the past two seasons, I wore a different hat but each respective hat was worn for every game of the season. In my superstitious mind, I couldn't very well carry over the hat from 2011 (that saw the 49ers lose the NFC Championship game) into 2012 because the team fell short. The same can be said going into the 2013 season. I won't wear the cap I sported in 2012 because they lost the Super Bowl when I was wearing that hat.
Speaking of the Super Bowl, that segues into the last time-frame: the long-term. I was at the game in New Orleans, and in the days prior, I bought a few Niners Super Bowl items (t-shirt, pint glass, etc.). I now consider these items "bad luck," and will likely never wear the shirt or drink out of the glass. Call it crazy, but that's just how it is. In my mind, that was the first and only Super Bowl the team has lost, so clearly items that commemorate that event wouldn't lend themselves to good luck.
As for traditions, there can be several of those as well. I think the demarcation between traditions and superstitions is that superstitions have this compulsive need to be carried out to stave off bad ju-ju and help the outcome of the game, whereas traditions are simply what you enjoy doing on gameday or what you have done over the course of the years. Maybe you have a favorite libation, maybe you go for a run or hit the gym before a game, maybe you like to drink out of certain mug, or maybe you always watch the games at a certain place. Again, some of these can cross the boundary between ritual and superstition but that's contingent on the individual's perception of it. For example, I do my best to have a few Anchor Steams during the game or beforehand, but if they're not available to me at the time, I don't drink them and I don't fear bad karma will result from it.
So what are your traditions, rituals, and superstitions, if you have any? Are there any compelling stories you have about something good or bad happening "because" of them? Share your story in the comments below.