Four leaf clovers. A penny found heads up. A rabbit’s root. All these are known to bring the owner good luck. But for SPA athletes, good luck charms can be a little more unorthodox.
For senior Kenzie Kasprowicz-Giese, a hockey game can’t start unless she and her team have completed their pre-game routines.
“As a goalie, I have a lot of little superstitions and things I have to do on game day, so especially on section games,” Kasprowicz-Giese said.
These superstitions start as soon as she wakes up on game day, with her lucky breakfast. She wears her lucky headband and listens to her lucky song while she stretches. Then, it’s time for the team’s traditions.
“As a team we have a warmup routine, we have to listen to a certain song before we get on the ice, so after warmups when we come in and they resurface the ice we listen to Bleed it Out by Lincoln Park and that’s been a tradition the last four years I’ve played on United and it goes back, I don’t know how many years. It’s an old tradition,” Kasprowicz-Giese said.
While Kasprowicz-Giese has a special headband, other athletes have less tangible charms. For sophomore Michael Bagnoli, the superstition comes in while putting on his skates.
“I always put my right skate on before my left skate. I don’t know why, but it feels right, and if I don’t, I’m off balance,” Bagnoli said.
This charm is specific to his skates.
“[For my elbow pads] it doesn’t matter – I can’t put my left elbow pad on before my right elbow pad, or my right elbow pad on first, and it won’t matter. But I feel like it’s because my skates are the most important part of my equipment, because it’s how I move on the ice, and if that’s screwed up, then I’m done for,” Bagnoli said.
It’s so important that even if he’s in a rush, he makes time for it.
“Sometimes I’ll do it unconsciously and I’ll put my left skate on first because I’m not paying attention, but if I notice it, I’ll be like I have to figure this out, I have to get this off. And even if I have to go out on the ice right away, I’ll still take my skate off, because it just – mentally, it’ll screw with my head,” Bagnoli said.
Junior Sydney Therien has a similar tradition of starting the game with a specific foot, confirming the superstition with a play on words.
“When I step onto the court for the first time, I always step with my right foot, because you have to start off the game on the right foot,” Therien said.
The next moment comes when it’s time for her to serve.
“Whenever I go back to serve in volleyball I always take a deep breath to center myself, and then on my drawback, I wink. It’s always my left eye. I always wink. And then I serve it, and it usually goes over,” Therien said.
However, the charm doesn’t always work. Once, at a big game in Providence, the magic wink failed her.
“[Providence’s] fan section was a nightmare, they were yelling at everybody by their names because they had the roster of our teams. They were like “Sophia, you’re wearing the wrong color!” and just being really nightmarish. So it was game point, and I winked at their fan section – and this was their senior night, it was a big game – and then I missed my serve,” Therien said.
Usually, though, the wink is a kind of communication between team members.
“I don’t usually wink at [the other team’s fans,] though. I wink at the players that I’m going to pass to,” Therien said.
Whether it’s a song, first foot, or wink, SPA athletes keep to their traditions, and stay lucky.