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Fans’ View: Rituals, good luck charms, and karma

Photo: Trey Madara

I am a firm believer in karma – what goes around comes around. I also wonder what I have done as a soccer fan to be on the receiving end of this never-ending flow of bad karma.

In previous posts, I have lamented my sons’ lack of good karma – almost every single time they get to that last game in a tournament or really important league games where they are so close to winning it all, it doesn’t happen.

Though the Union hasn’t been in that position often, I have also felt the pain of coming up just a little short too many times – both in league games and the US Open Cup.

So how do I combat the bad karma? I try by appeasing the soccer gods with good luck charms and rituals.

I have a plethora of Union shirts. We have dress down Friday at school, so I pick one to wear. If we win that week, then I will continue to wear it until we don’t. That four game winning streak? My bright blue MacMath goalie jersey. We lose one week, it goes in the bottom of the closet to be rotated out at a later date when I feel better juju from it.

My son’s girlfriend came to her first game on May 6th, that glorious pummeling of the Red Bulls. I had given her a Union jersey to wear. While watching the next three matches, she wore that jersey. Four wins. Coincidence? Hmmm.

Rituals offer a different level of comfort than my good luck “charms.” My husband laughs at me as I have several of them:

  1. I have a certain gate I go in every game and a different one when we leave.
  2. I have a specific bathroom before the game and a different one for after the game.
  3. I always pay my respects to the players during warm-ups.
  4. I stand at the bottom of my section before going to my seat and watching for a little while.

I was wondering if any of the Union players have specific pregame rituals. That lead me to googling “famous soccer player rituals,” which in turn led to an NPR interview with author Paul Simpson before the 2014 World Cup.  I was disappointed that there weren’t any really crazy ones (I did hear about one player tying and untying his shoes and another kissing the tattoos of his children’s names on his arms).

I know a few Union players touch the pitch, cross themselves or point to the heavens. But I do wonder if there are any non-religious based rituals that the guys part take in before games.

Perhaps there lies the idea for my next post. Now for getting the Union players to sit down and talk to me!




  1. Zizouisgod says:

    My pre, during and post-game ritual is drinking beer.

  2. who was it that used to hop on one foot when he came onto the field? i can’t remember but he used to do it every time he got subbed on

  3. John Ling says:

    During warmups, whether in the starting XI or the gameday 18, Ray Gaddis comes over to the ad boards on the bench side of the field and high-fives with everybody lined up there to watch the warmups. And of course, Ray being Ray, he does so with a big-ass smile on his face every time, too.

    • +1. As a bridge side ticket holder, Ray has always been the nicest, most gracious U player to the fans.

  4. OneManWolfpack says:

    For me: Parking in the same Lot (Lot A), parking in the same spot in that lot (right near the light post), wearing the same pre-Bimbo original long-sleeve Union jersey (regardless how hot), with the season ticket holder mini-scarf (given out the first year I believe) that has the velcro pocket to hold your season ticket holder card – tied to my right belt loop… and also the same Union hat I have had since some time during the inaugural season.
    Silly I know, since NONE of this works… haha

    • msg24365 says:

      I think the mini scarf was third year – the first year they started doing the cards instead of tix. Definitely not the first year – that was the “founding member” scarf with the rattle.

  5. When I used to play I did not cut my hair when I was on a scoring streak. I still remember several team mates came up to me during one summer after I had cut my hair short and were worried about the upcoming season. They had good reason since I indeed lost my scoring touch and ended up playing holding midfielder.

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