|Seahawks vs. Cardinals Pregame (Photo credit: bran.dan)|
What is far stranger and far more difficult to justify is the behavior of the fans miles away who engage in their own superstitious rituals because they think they can affect the performance of individual athletes or even the outcome of the competition. As Cathy Lynn Grossman recently reminded us in an article at Religion News Service, some Americans will pray and perform other superstitious rituals on Sunday before the NFL playoff games.
Her summary of the results of a recent survey by the Public Religion Institute includes the following tidbits:
- 21% will wear "special clothes" or conduct "special rituals"
- 25% report that they have sometimes felt their team was cursed
- 26% say they pray to some sort of god in an effort to help their team, and this appears to be more common among White evangelical Christians than any other group surveyed
Most of the rabid sports fans I know who break out their "lucky" jerseys and the like on game day do not really do so because they think it is going to make any real difference in the outcome of the game or in who plays well. They do it because they've always done it (i.e., tradition) and because it makes them feel more connected to the game. But I do not doubt that there are some fans out there who really do think that their prayers and other superstitious rituals would affect outcomes. According to this survey, there are quite a few of them.
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