The world of professional sports is undoubtedly high stress. It is made up of athletes who have typically been working their entire lives towards one goal, and once they have reached it, they are locked in a daily battle to remain healthy and avoid extended periods of poor performance, both of which could ultimately cause their lifelong dream to reach a swift and unexpected end. Due to the high levels of stress and uncertainty regarding the length of their careers, athletes understandably adopt some strange rituals and habits they believe will positively impact their performance. These rituals and habits can be born out of essentially anything, whether it be something they heard, something a fellow player did, or something insignificant they did before an impressive performance and must therefore be continued in order to have similar performances. Superstitions come in all shapes and sizes, but the weirdest and most obsessive are undoubtedly the most fascinating, and will therefore be the ones addressed.
In addition to being a first ballot Hall of Famer and rumored to have consumed over one hundred beers in one day, Wade Boggs had a strange habit of eating chicken before every baseball game. He has said that early in his career, all he could afford was chicken, and as he began to eat chicken more consistently, he noticed a steady rise in his batting average. Ever since then, he had consumed primarily chicken, allowing his wife to cook for him and amass an enormous catalog of chicken-based recipes. While chicken seems fairly harmless, Caron Butler’s dieting habits were not. Butler has described himself as being a Mountain Dew addict. Rumors say he would often drink half a two-liter before games and the other half during halftime. His habit, an obviously unhealthy one, did not go unnoticed, with teammates often passing judgment on him, particularly Kobe Bryant. Kobe is known for keeping a close eye on teammates’ diets, and because of this, Butler went to great lengths to hide his habit when on the Lakers.
While food-based habits are fairly common, another type of habit is clothing-based. Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of all time is known for having worn his college shorts from the University of North Carolina under his Bulls uniform shorts during every game, a ritual that makes a bit of sense but does seem wildly uncomfortable and warm. This was a reason for his longer shorts, something the rest of the NBA would soon follow him in. While it does seem poorly ventilated, he was incredible, and therefore it is difficult to discredit this ritual, one Jimmy Butler supposedly also kept during his time with the Bulls. Another clothing habit from the NBA is from Jason Terry. Terry, an excellent three point shooter and wearer of very long socks, supposedly wears five pairs of socks during games, claiming it is simply the best way to do it. In addition to this, he has a slightly more unusual habit of wearing the uniform shorts of the team he will be facing the night before games, and if their shorts are unavailable, then his own.
While all of these habits are strange, fascinating, and often unexplainable, one in particular takes the cake in my book. This honor would have to go to Amar’e Stoudemire’s vinotherapy. Stoudemire has been known to bathe in tubs of warm, hot tub-like, red wine baths. Stoudemire, an eccentric individual, claims the bath nourishes both his body and soul, making it an excellent tool to recovery. The rituals of athletes are weird and often wonderful to hear about, adding yet another layer to the already entertaining world of professional sports.