“I’m not superstitious, however I’m slightly stitious,” stated The Workplace’s Michael Scott. This was my too-often-quoted reply to my spouse whereas the Texas Rangers had been making their postseason run to an eventual World Collection title. I observed a correlation each time I watched the Rangers slightly too intensely: they’d begin shedding or giving up runs. After I turned the channel or targeted my consideration elsewhere, they’d play championship-style baseball and ultimately win. So, to play my half in serving to the Rangers win, I’d flip the channel when the sport started to look grim. My spouse would roll her eyes, and I’d reply, “I’m just a bit stitious.”
Superstitions and sports activities are practically synonymous. Followers and athletes alike take part in some kind or ritual related to competitors. Baseball followers put on rally caps. Tennis stars repeat the identical routine earlier than each match or serve. Liverpool FC even forwent washing the crew uniforms for an prolonged stretch of the season throughout a successful streak.
For the numerous issues related to superstitions in sports activities—a few of which we’ll cowl right here—we will harness the larger need for interconnectedness that lies on the root of those rituals for good. However that leaves us with the query of whether or not or not we, as Christians, ought to indulge ourselves in superstitions. As with something sports activities or life-related, we will discover knowledge and nuance from God’s phrase. As a result of the Bible doesn’t explicitly inform us the way to be athletes or followers of sports activities who need to play our half in greatness, I don’t declare to have the reply right here, however I do provide some perspective.
Some could declare Christianity and Christian practices are simply one other type of superstitious perception. On the extent of, “If I do (A) and (B), then God will do (C),” it’s laborious to disagree with that assertion. All through the historical past of God’s relationship with folks, nonetheless, he’s by no means been impressed by ritualistic, superstitious-style sacrifices (Isaiah 1:11; Hosea 6:6; Amos 5:22–23). The Lord wishes full-throated religion and belief in Him—belief that believes He loves us—not petty companies that attempt to manipulate and coax him into doing what we wish him to do for us.
If we’re trustworthy, I’m certain a few of us have, certainly, lived out our perception in God in some “superstitious” kind or method. A few of us should do. Nonetheless, our perception in God and His guarantees ought to reverse our actions: “God did (C), subsequently I do (A) and (B).” Even once we face complicated and significant choices, Christians can achieve data, search knowledge from the Lord and others, and make our selections absolutely trusting God to maintain us when it’s inconceivable to know the end result as a result of the bottom of our perception in God is that he loves us (John 3:16–17; Romans 5:8).
That is the place Christianity differs from mere superstition. Superstition depends on our capacity to manage an final result. It’s foolish to imagine our actions hundreds of miles away (like in my case, once I’m cheering on the Baltimore Ravens from Texas) can management a recreation’s final result. But we take part in these actions regardless. On a surface-level understanding of those actions, it’s innocent enjoyable to hitch rituals alongside a neighborhood of followers. If left unchecked and brought too significantly, we will begin to imagine we have now management over the end result of a recreation with our actions.
However the identical superstitious behaviors can plague athletes, too, who do have some measure of management over the end result of their competitions. Take one of many best tennis athletes of all time, Serena Williams. “I’ve too many superstitious rituals and it’s annoying. It’s like I’ve to do it and if I don’t then I’ll lose,” Williams stated. Discover how she conflates a awful efficiency along with her superstitious routines: “I’m not shedding as a result of I didn’t play properly, I misplaced as a result of I didn’t tie my shoe the appropriate manner and it’s completely ridiculous as a result of I’ve to make use of the identical bathe, I’ve to make use of the identical sandals, I’ve to journey with the identical baggage.”
One of many best athletes ever doesn’t want a superstitious routine to be nice. But she feels as if she does. We don’t should take this route, nonetheless. We will absolutely put money into cheering and collaborating in nice competitors with out stressing ourselves with obsessively compulsive-type behaviors.
For nuance’s sake, there’s a line between becoming a member of in on the beer snake enjoyable or sporting a rally cap to point out your assist for the crew, and needing to put on your “fortunate” socks or jersey for the crew to win. We want solely check with the knowledge referenced earlier for collaborating as followers who need to present our perception within the dwelling crew. We belief in God’s love for us and, subsequently, take part in acts of mercy, kindness, and justice (Micah 6:8)—not with a purpose to get God to like us extra. As followers, we will put on our favourite jerseys, socks, and caps as a result of we assist the house crew, not as a result of what we put on will have an effect on the end result. And we reside with the wins and losses as a result of that’s what true followers do.
After recreation 3 of the World Collection, I made myself watch the remainder of the Ranger/Diamondback video games no matter what transpired. Being superstitious, and even “slightly stitious,” wasn’t well worth the stress. Sports activities leisure exists for us to get pleasure from it. And for what it’s price, I’m not even a die-hard Rangers fan. (I used to be rooting for the Baltimore Orioles, who received swept within the ALDS spherical by the Rangers.) However I reside within the Dallas-Fort Price metroplex space and haven’t any qualms with rooting for the house groups. I lit my out of doors lights crimson and blue with my neighbors in unity and found a sense of catharsis alongside them I won’t have felt in any other case.
On the finish of the postseason, it wasn’t my assist that received the Texas Rangers their first World Collection ever as a result of—in line with my (false) superstitions—I solely root for groups that lose. And the Texas Rangers are proof that superstitions aren’t actual.