Successful athletes depend on superstitious fans, right?

I?m not particularly superstitious by nature. I don?t think sports fans have much to do with the outcome of games played on the field or court.

However, there?s no denying that many fans think that wearing a lucky cap, socks or jersey could influence the outcome of a sporting event. Seriously? It all seems so silly to me.

Even someone who claims not to have a superstitious bone in his or her body occasionally have superstitious tendencies.

One such person who I know at Wichita State, Vanessa, recently assured me that she wasn?t at all superstitious. But after thinking more about the topic, she shared a story with me that sounded suspiciously superstitious.

The New England Patriots were losing a game at the time. Vanessa said she started holding her 3-month-old nephew while watching the game in the living room, and the Patriots came back and took the lead. She made sure to hold her nephew well into the third quarter, because she knew he was the reason they made a comeback.

When her nephew and his parents had to leave, Vanessa made his mom promise that if the Patriots started losing when they got home, she would put him in his carrier in front of the TV for good luck. Of course, the Patriots won that game.

Others are unabashedly superstitious and look at me suspiciously for not being so. One of my co-workers at WSU shared some of his family?s superstitions involving WSU athletics.

Among other rituals, he tells me he always wears underwear of the opposing basketball teams? colors on game day. He says he has a massive underwear drawer to accommodate this.

Second, during a WSU game on TV one year, WSU hit a big shot late in the game to close a large deficit just as his niece bit into a potato chip. Because of that, she had to keep eating them at the same rate for the remainder of the game?more than a minute of game-clock time?as the Shockers came back to win. His niece was probably glad the game didn?t go into overtime.

Finally, my co-worker?s brother is certain he?s the reason if the Shocks are playing poorly. When that happens, he will often leave his seat at Koch Arena and hang out in the lobby for a time until things are going better.

Bryan, a former co-worker in the office who isn?t nearly the devoted sports fan that my other co-worker is, also admits to being superstitious.

During one season, Bryan refused to watch the WSU men?s team play on TV, apparently because they lost a couple of games while he was watching. Of course, Bryan took responsibility for the losses and he stopped watching them on TV.

Would you believe the Shockers starting winning and kept winning as long as Bryan didn?t watch them play? Bryan, a person I otherwise consider to be sane, claims that?s why the Shockers won so many games that season.

Like so many others, people in our office enjoyed watching the Royals advance to the World Series again this fall. Jen, another co-worker, was convinced it was because she wore a Royals cap when the Royals were playing. She even wore one at work during a Royals game. Naturally, the Royals won.

However, after the Royals lost a game in Toronto, I asked her what had gone wrong. Rather than admit the cap didn?t matter, she reasoned that the lucky cap was only a factor when the Royals played a home game.

Sure enough, she wore the cap during the next home playoff game and the Royals won!

Now, I?m far too mature and logical to think that wearing a cap has anything to do with the outcome of any sporting event.

However, no one?s perfect.

The next time Jen came to work without a cap on a day when the Royals had a home playoff game, I panicked slightly and said, ?Jen, where?s your cap? What are you thinking??

She said, ?Oh, don?t worry. It only matters if I have the cap on during the game.? Whew!

Hillsboro resident Joe Klein?sasser is director of news and media relations at Wichita State University. He can be reached at Joe.Klein?sasser@wichita.edu.

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