If you are, or ever have been, an athlete (or a fan for that matter), you may very well have a game day ritual or superstition that you follow. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team slaps the ‘Play Like A Champion Today’ sign on their way out of the locker room. Many players stop and say a prayer after they’ve run out of the tunnel and onto the field. The the Lady Irish coaches and players all have their nails painted green for the NCAA tournament. Heck, as the Irish kept winning last season, I noticed that I had worn green for the first few games, and then it became a thing; I had to wear green every week, home or away, for fear if I didn’t they would not win. Yes, I know, these thoughts are highly irrational, but if you’re the follower of a game day superstition or ritual, it’s very real.
I had the chance to catch up with former Notre Dame football player, Ken MacAfee, and he told me about the game day ritual/superstition that he always followed (along with a few memories from the 1977 Notre Dame vs. USC game).
“We went out in our blue jerseys and warmed up as always. No one had any inkling of what was going to occur. On game day I had one ritual or superstition that I always followed. I had to be the last one into the locker room after warm-ups and the last one out of the locker room at game time. As I was coming towards the locker room I heard this commotion that was getting louder and louder the closer I got. As I walked up the stairs from the tunnel into the locker room it sounded as though we had just won the game. I walked into the locker room and everyone was taking off their blue jerseys and putting on these green ones. It was utter chaos in the locker room; everyone was jumping around.”
“It was pretty impressive I must say. It was remarkable what happened after that. Whether or not the green jerseys were a significant factor in that win, they certainly did have an impact. The aura surrounding that game with the addition of the green jerseys, we were more pumped up than you can even imagine. The coaches had to actually come into the locker room to settle everyone down. It was an enjoyable experience, but winning the game was even more enjoyable. We were just going to wear the green jerseys for that game and then someone said, ‘why don’t we wear the green jerseys for the rest of the year? Use them as our trademark and potentially win a national title.’ And the rest, as they say, is history.”
Do you have a ritual that you follow on game day? Is it a ritual you only follow for Notre Dame football games? Or does the ritual apply to every Notre Dame team you follow or watch? Does it change from season to season? Do tell!
Cheers & GO IRISH!