The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Working quirks, rituals into cycle of life

Taking a sip of her coffee, Monique Macias, 18, struggled to stay awake while she was studying for her English midterm and began feeling more anxious as the night progressed.

It’s the day of the test and Macias, still feeling uncertain, embraces the cross around her neck, smiles and enters her classroom.

She has on a cross her grandmother gave her when she was young and Monique considers it her lucky charm.

“I carry the cross my grandma gave me for good luck,” Macias said.

Macias said she considers herself to be superstitious, so every time she has her cross on, she believes that something good will happen to her.

“I guess you sometimes feel you’re not confident and need a lucky charm,” Macias said. “It’s something extra to carry.”

She said she believes the cross played a huge role the day she received her driver’s permit.

“I was very nervous that day,” Macias said. “I grabbed my cross and it made me feel a little more confident.”

There are sayings that a rabbit’s foot brings good luck, or if a football player wears dirty socks, he will have a good game.

There is also the one where if a swimmer shaves his or her entire body, he or she will swim faster.

Although it is uncertain if there is any truth behind these theories, many students still participate in superstitions in spite of whether they believe that they work or not.

Bridgette Norman, 19, art history major is one student who has a particular way of preparing before a test.

“I normally carry a copy of my favorite book with me,” Norman said. “I usually read a chapter before I take a test.”

“Fight Club” is Norman’s book of choice at the moment and she enjoys how reading it gives her energy.

“It’s the mind set it puts me in,” Norman said. “It’s best to take a test when you have energy.”

She said she admits not knowing whether reading a chapter of her book before a test makes her do better; however, it does calm her down before taking the test.

“I’m not scared of taking tests anymore,” Norman said.

As for business major Melissa Ortiz, 18, she does something that supposedly prevents her from getting into trouble with her parents when coming home late.

“I lick my fingers and touch my earlobes,” Ortiz said.

She remembers her friend telling her to do that when they were both on their way home late from a party.

“I’m not superstitious, but I guess I was drunk when she (her friend) told me that,” Ortiz said. “It’s a stupid little thing I do to not get in trouble.”

For a musician like 17-year-old Stephanie Johnson, undeclared major, preparing for her performances brings out the superstitions in her.

“The only thing I do is give my instrument a bath before a performance,” Johnson said.

Doing this, Johnson said, makes Johnson believe she will do better since she “knows her instrument is in top shape.”

“I don’t think it actually does make a difference if I do it or not,” Johnson said. “I just do it to make myself feel better and more confident.”

Baseball is a sport where rituals are not a foreign concept; many of EC’s players confess their own secrets on how to play a more perfect game.

“We always pray before a game,” Shawn Fendley, 20, said. “We pray for everyone’s safety and pray for a win.”

Fendley said he agrees that baseball players tend to be superstitious and when things look good, they will keep on doing what they are doing.

“I’ve been superstitious since I began playing baseball,” Fendley said. “When things are going good, you don’t want anything to change.”

Teammate David Gaytan, 18, business major has tried almost everything in the book for good luck.

“If we’re on a winning streak, I won’t wash my clothes or I’ll wear the same shirt and pants,” Gaytan said.

However, Gaytan doesn’t stop there; he has also grown out his hair before to not jinx his winning streak.

“I let my hair grow out when I was having a good hitting streak,” Gaytan said. “When I got zero hits out of four, I cut off all of my hair.”

Gaytan said he believes the idea of a charm or a ritual that gives good luck is all in a person’s mind, yet admits he thinks everything he does gives him luck.

“Why change something that’s going good?” Gaytan said. “I think it gives me luck.”

Gaytan recalls that once he would change shirts while he was striking out and in between innings, all in an attempt to try and change his luck.

“I’ve also done the pen thing,” Gaytan said. “I got a perfect score on a test and continued to use it.”

Other baseball superstitions are spitting in your hand before picking up the bat, sticking gum in your hat, and stepping on a base before leaving the outfield at the end of an inning.

Michael Morrison wrote an article on sports superstitions where he writes that Nomar Garcia Parra, Red Sox shortstop, dresses the same way every day, tugs his gloves and taps his toes while he bats.

Morrison also tells how Michael Jordan would wear his shorts from when he played at North Carolina under his Bulls shorts.

A comical omen is the one of former pitcher Mark “The Bird” Fidrych, who would talk to himself and the ball before a game.

Many players also believe that lending their own personal bat to another player is potential trouble and to never touch the baselines when running on and off the field in between innings.

Also, if a pitcher is throwing a perfect game it is bad luck to speak of it while it’s going on .

And if a dog is seen walking across the diamond before the first pitch, players try to stay away from it.

However, rituals don’t stop with the sport of baseball; many other sports carry the same superstitious beliefs that presumably bring good luck.

In basketball, it is considered that wiping the soles of their sneakers, and bouncing the ball before taking a foul shot brings them good luck.

Fishermen think that if you throw back your first catch you will have plenty of catches the rest of the day and if you spit on your bait, a fish will be sure to bite.

Rodeos also practice omens that they believe will bring them luck; a few which may seem somewhat odd.

One should always put his right foot into the stirrup first, avoid wearing anything yellow, and men should always shave before a competition.

While these rituals seem silly, if the purpose is to make students confident, then they must be working.;

“I need something to boost me up a little,” Macias said.

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