The Silly Ritual of Being Very Superstitious

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In the interest of full-disclosure, this post is admittedly a "puff-piece". What do you expect for mid-January? If you are looking for a hard-hitting IndyCar article, please check back next week. If you don’t mind the occasional puff-piece, feel free to continue reading.

My early morning local sports-talk radio station (104.5 – The Zone) had an interesting discussion this past week that reminded me of how I follow IndyCar races. With the Titans going to this weekend’s AFC Championship game in Kansas City, they asked callers to call in and tell their traditions and superstitions that they follow when either attending a Titans game or watching on television.

At first, I had to chuckle, because I do the same things that the first few callers said that they do for the Tennessee Vols and Titans games and IndyCar races.

Superstitions are an odd thing. They are a ridiculous ritual that normally rational people go through, thinking if they don’t continue a routine – something bad will happen.

For Christmas, Susan gave me a new Titans polo. It’s 100% cotton (of course), light blue and has a simple Titans logo on the chest. I wore it during the next game, which was the season finale at Houston. The Titans won and made it into the playoffs. Not messing with a good thing, I wore it again the next week when the Titans played at New England. When it produced the same result, I made sure it was in the wash before last week’s playoff game at Baltimore. You probably don’t have to wonder what I’ll be wearing on Sunday. You don’t mess with 3-0.

Of course, this was also combined with my game-day boxer-shorts underwear. Keep in mind these old boxers have been through a lot of losses, as well. But for the past seven or eight years, I’ve worn the same pair of boxers (washed, of course) for every Titans game that I watch on TV or see in person. I’ve already made the decision to retire them after this season. The elastic has seen better days and the fabric is looking a little worn. But if the Titans make it to the Super Bowl and win it, I might have to re-think that.

I also have a pair of boxers reserved for the Tennessee Vols. I last wore them for the Gator Bowl a couple of weeks ago. They, too, are slated for retirement before next season.

I hate to admit it, but my superstitions bleed over into the IndyCar season. It’s just not to the extreme of my football rituals…or is it?

If I’m at home watching a race, I will always put on an IndyCar-related polo and wear the same set of boxers. They have old antique cars all over them. I figured if they have cars, they would make a good set of race boxers. I only wear them sixteen times a year. But there are seventeen races in a season, you might notice. Yeah, I only wear them once on the double-header weekend at Belle Isle. I’m not going to wash them on Saturday night to wear them again on Sunday. That would be crazy (no comments, please).

If I’m at a race, I’m not too particular what I wear each day at the track. But I used to always wear a white Oilpressure polo on Race Day. That’s changed in recent years as I’ve added more colors to my Oilpressure collection, but mostly you’ll see me in a white polo on Sundays at the track.

The strange thing is, I’m not even sure why I wear "good-luck" boxers for a race. For a football game, there is only one winner and one loser. It’s all or nothing and it’s pretty clear who I’m pulling for. At a race, it’s different. I have those that I pull for and those that I’m not as crazy about, but I don’t really pull against anybody. Maybe I’m just hoping for a safe race and I think my wearing a certain set of boxers will somehow guarantee that.

Not only is this absurd, but I even have personal evidence to disprove my own superstition. It’s no secret that I have always been a big Tony Kanaan fan. Not only am I a fan, but I also correctly picked him to win the 2013 Indianapolis 500. I believe it’s the only time I’ve correctly picked the "500" winner. The problem was that in 2013, I forgot to pack the "lucky" Race Day boxers. That particular morning, I had to (gasp) wear ordinary everyday boxers, yet Kanaan won the race. Did that do anything to make me give up this silly ritual? No. I made sure I packed them and wore them in 2014.

But if you think I’m crazy, you should have heard some of the rituals, superstitions and traditions that some Titans fans go through. Many of them do what I do and wear superstitious articles of clothing, but many listeners took it to another level.

One guy said he never sits during a game, even while watching at home. One guy will start watching on his DVR about ten minutes delayed, but will follow the game on Twitter so that he knows what is about to happen ahead of time. Another said he will only drink a certain type of beer during a game. Maybe the worst was the listener who said he separates his m&m’s by color and puts them in separate bowls before the game and eats certain colors by quarters. Now that’s weird!

So am I the only strange person that insists on wearing certain items to watch a football game on television? What about for IndyCar viewing. Do any of you adhere to certain rituals or traditions just to watch an IndyCar race in the comfort of your home? Do you do anything special at the track? If so, let us know below. I’d like confirmation that I’m not the only nut-job out there.

Go Titans! #TitanUp

George Phillips

11 Responses to “The Silly Ritual of Being Very Superstitious”

  1. Nothing too strange for me, I always knock on wood though as a life rule. I more believe in fate, it starts in February for me, who wins the Super Bowl sometimes sets the stage for the rest of the year and who wins the other championships I follow. Maybe that is something of a superstition. But when Brady is hoisting that trophy up, I always so “man, I bet this means bad luck for whoever I root for all year”. Sometimes it is very true and sometimes it isn’t. I prefer new winners so I get tired of NASCAR’s big 3 drivers or Lewis Hamilton, Scott Dixon winning titles. In other sports I root against teams who out-buy others, like the Red Sox or Yankees, not a Lakers fan, of course I root against New England when football rolls around, don’t like Pittsburgh, Green Bay or Dallas much either.

    So as you can see, I have a decent set of teams I root against and when New England winning starts the sports year off on a down-note (for me at least), sometimes those other teams win it all as well…. Hoping this year is better, new champions and fresh faces, at least the Titans started that off right for me!

  2. Bruce Waine Says:

    Rumor has it that a GO FUND ME PAGE may begin for of all things a new pair of “boxers.”

    Wonder where that came from?

  3. billytheskink Says:

    After Graham Rahal won at Texas in 2016 while I was wearing Bryan Clauson’s 2015 Indy 500 t-shirt, I took to wearing that shirt when watching the next several races. Didn’t seem to do much, but I absolutely tried.

    I also have a pair of “unlucky” underwear that I refuse to throw out or to bypass when it comes to the top of the underwear drawer, but I think that is just me being anal retentive. I do dread seeing them on top when there is a big game or race. In true auto racing superstition fashion… they’re green.

    I think they may be losing their bad luck, though. They were on the top of the drawer the day I proposed to my now-wife and she said “yes”.

  4. I wear my Boyle Special shirt on qualifying days. On race day I wear a shirt of the driver I’m pulling for. I’m not sharing about boxers or briefs.

  5. I am so glad now, George, I did not email you to wish the Titans luck before the playoff games. I was afraid my email would jinx your team. BTW, I was just in Macy’s and they are having sale on underwear. 🙂

  6. lap 101 of any attended race:
    drink a miniature Wild Turkey 101
    to discourage waving the Red Flag.

  7. I wear my Justin Wilson CDW hat.

  8. No superstions but when I go to a race at IMS I try to wear a shirt from another event at IMS to maybe show people there are other races there. For example, I’ll wear a SVRA vintage weekend shirt to the IndyGP, or a BC39 shirt to the SVRA races.

    Like you I don’t really root against anyone because everyone is part of one big family to me. I’m not even sure I have a favorite driver, there’s some I like more than others and when they’re up front I pull for them. But going into the weekend I rarely have a favorite, except when it’s narrowed down to the last few at the finale.

    #changeyourdrawers 😄

  9. Gary Manes Says:

    Shot of tequila when we arrive at seats (NW Vista) another shot when drivers get command, and another every 100 miles

  10. When I go cycling, I wear my helmet. Does that counrt?

  11. I always drink a bottle of Moose Head beer when watching Green Bay Packer games. Yesterday I wanted to throw it at the TV. When watching the Indy500 I like to wear a Bad Ass Wilson shirt. If that is in the wash I will drag out my Tony Bettenhausen Sr. shirt.

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