PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–When you’re a sports fan, there’s a lot of watching, waiting and wishing. And with that hope, comes plenty of superstition.
“I have certain shirts I wear when the Flyers play,” said Maryanne Massari, of West Deptford, New Jersey.
“Brent Celek jersey every Sunday, never wash it,” added one Eagles fan.
“I haven’t changed my underwear since last year,” joked Villanova loyalist Fran Fabian, of Delaware.
“When people are in situations that are high risk and low control, that’s when superstitions emerge,” said Linda Lee, a professor of folklore and the supernatural at the University of Pennsylvania.
She says pre-game rituals do make fans feel better, but do they actually work?
“It probably doesn’t matter at all,” said one fan Eyewitness News spoke to.
Tell that to professional athletes.
Lee says baseball players are especially superstitious.
“Wade Boggs was pretty famous for eating an entire chicken before games. There’s the famous Curt Schilling bloody sock when he refused to change his socks during the World Series. And another example from baseball is Barry Bonds, who would kiss the gold cross that he wore after scoring a run.”
Lee says these routines relieve tension and put players in a frame of mind where they’re more likely to perform their best.
“So in that sense, the performing of superstitions will absolutely help us. Whether there’s more to it than that, an underlying supernatural element, that’s something I can’t really say.”