Sports superstitions and routines is a fun subject. Everyone athlete has a story to tell. As interchangeable as the words have become, they couldn't be more opposite in meaning and yet similar in belief. The subject of both have come up in recent interviews with Dynamo Dos coach Kevin Bundy.
Webster's dictionary defines superstitions as "a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary." A ritual or routine is defined as “a certain behavior or action that a sports performer [or fan] carries out with the belief that these behaviors have a specific purpose, or power, to influence their performance." It's interesting to note that neither is a taught characteristic. Even though, it's known to not have any actual power, we (athletes & former athletes) still carry them out. We are creatures of habit.
As a former athlete and now a writer, if the Dynamo win I will wear the same clothes to each game until they lose. I know that what I wear has no outcome on the game but I don't want to wear something different and they lose.
Bundy relayed almost the same thought last week and this week about what he wore to Sunday's win and would be wearing for the North Texas game this week.
"I'm wearing the same thing we were last time man," Bundy said with a laugh. "We won, so the boys know that about me. I'm wearing the dark blue polo and black pants."
Compare that to last week's comment about what he would be wearing for the Real Monarchs game.
"I'm a big believer that when we win games, I don't change my clothes. I obviously dry clean them, okay, let's be honest. I clean them. But I don't change what I wear. And we went on that five-game run where we weren't losing, and it was getting hotter and hotter. And I'd been wearing that sweater. It's so funny because the boys know that. I was walking out for the Tacoma game and Marcelo looked at me and he was like, 'You know what, coach, I really liked that outfit. We got to win to keep you in that outfit."
So is it superstition or routine?
"It's not superstition, it's more or less routine," explained Bundy. "When we're in our routine, we can have the freedom to think more critically. So, you know, you'll always see Dan (Roberts) with the iPad in front of him. We have the same books. I shout out notes for the sideline. Dan writes them in the same book. It just keeps that sense of clarity that we can critically think and help the guys.”
The answer I believe it a little bit of both. We have our routines and those routines as Bundy put it gives us the freedom to think more critically. Don't believe that? Take the legendary Dutchman Johann Cruyff. One of the greatest footballers, Cruyff would box his keeper in the stomach, walk across the pitch and then spit out his chewing gum in the direction of the opponent's goal. Once with his team playing poorly, Cruyff recalled that he had forgotten to spit his gum at the other team's goal. They lost 4-1. Bet he never forgot again.
Superstitions and routine are all about semantics. Either way win , lose or draw they will continue to play their part in the game. Let's hope come Sunday night, Bundy won't be changing his clothes again.