Superstitions and rituals are a hot topic in sports and in Christianity.
Most athletes have their specific game day rituals and superstitions. Each major sport even has its own set of sport- specific rituals.
Here at California Baptist University there is an interesting mix between athletic beliefs and a Christian perspective.
Looking at each major sport, there are a few superstitions that stand out.
In the National Hockey League, you begin to see players on contending teams growing out their playoff beards once March and April roll around.
Some call a ritual and others refer to it as a tradition.
But where is the line between the two?
According to Webster’s Dictionary, tradition is defined as “an inherited, established or customary pattern of thought, action or behavior.”
The same dictionary refers to superstition as “a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation.”
An example of superstition in professional sports would be the belief in the “Curse of the Bambino” and the “Curse of the Billy Goat,” by Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs fans.
These teams and fans believed that their extended losing streaks and lack of championships were caused by supernatural curses.
At CBU some athletes practice game day rituals, such as following a strict diet on game days or preparing with the same routine each game, but few follow any superstitions.
It is the Christian belief that God knew and cared for us all before we were in the womb, and he has had his plans for our lives since then.
One of the most oft quoted Bible verses regarding this topic is Proverbs 3:5; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Reliance on ignorant superstitions goes against the word of the Bible and the most superstitious act likely to be seen at our private Christian school is the customary act of hopping over the foul line running onto the baseball diamond.
Most superstitions in the sports world are all in good fun, however superstition also has ties to more serious topics, such as sorcery, witchcraft and other realms considered taboo to the Christian faith.
The need for superstition dissipates when one adapts to the Christian belief system and realizes that God’s hands are active in their lives and that he will not let them fall.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ’plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Traditions are encouraged and small rituals are accepted but large superstitions and faith in anything other than the power of God are unacceptable.
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”