10 Strangest Pre-Game Rituals

By Megan Lehman on January 17, 2014

We all have our little tricks and sports teams are no different.  Some of those little tricks, otherwise known as pre-game rituals, are a little, well, strange. Whether you wear the same socks every time the Packers play or you squeeze that lucky rabbits foot like your life depended on it every time you watch the Cubs take the field, superstitious traditions are everywhere.  Let’s take a look at some of the strangest pre-game rituals of some of our most famous athletes, courtesy of the Bleacher Report, Coach Up, and Total Pro Sports.

1. Baseball Star, Jason Giambi

Image courtesy of Fan Pix

Jason Giambi, first baseman and designated hitter for professional baseball team the Cleveland Indians, has one of the most interesting rituals of all.  To cure a bit of a slump, Giambi became fond of wearing a golden thong to the game. Bell Malley, an analyst for the Bleacher Report said that “considering his recent track record, Giambi must have been quite familiar with this sort of underwear.”

“Jason Giambi, my friend, you officially have the weirdest, and most disturbing, pre-game ritual of all time,” Malley said.

2. Basketball Pro, Jason Terry

Image courtesy of Mental Floss

This 37 year old basketball veteran of the Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Mets, shooting guard Jason Terry, has about 14 years of basketball experience.  So what does this athlete do to prepare for the upcoming game?  He sleeps in the shorts of the opposing team.  And I do not mean just any shorts.  These shorts are game day wearable, NBA regulation shorts.  Strange pre-game ritual? Most definitely.  But once you get a look at the championship ring on Terry’s finger, you will not second guess this technique.

3. Tennis Goddess, Serena Willams

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Everyone knows this tennis expert and twin sister, Venus, are fierce competitors on court.  So what does Serena do for that extra edge?  She ties her shoes the same way before every match. Sounds pretty normal, right?  Well she also wears the same socks for every match of a tournament.  Let’s hope her tennis skills knock out the opponent before the smell of those socks do!

4. Football Stud, Brian Urlacher

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Like some of the other athletes listed above and below, this 13-year veteran of the Chicago Bears has an interesting pre-game tradition.  While some are loading up on water or Gatorade, this linebacker is munching on two Girl Scout cookies.  Pretty sweet routine if you ask me.

5. Football Favorite, John Henderson

Image courtesy of Trial X

This pre-game ritual would seem a little intense if we did not know it was for the colossal defensive tackle, John Henderson.  While Henderson played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, he searched for ways to get pumped up before taking the field.  So what did he do?  He had the assistant team trainer, Joe Sheehan, slap him across the face.  Now that he is playing for the Oakland Raiders, Henderson continues to use the forceful pump-up method. That takes one high pain tolerance and one brave trainer.

6. Crazy Coach, Les Miles

Image courtesy of Kentucky Sports Radio

Current head coach of the Louisiana State University football team has always had a hunger for the game, literally.  Before every game and during every stressful play, Miles would grab a fistful of grass and chomp down.  That is taking “getting your head in the game” a little far, don’t you think? And just in case you are interested, Miles says grass at Tiger Stadium, home of the LSU tigers, tastes best.

7. Football Fiend, Brian Dawkins

Image courtesy of BlogSpot

Everyone has their own way of getting ready for the game.  If Brian Dawkins has a weird one … a really weird one, then so be it! Dawkins starts by running around the field, speaking to no one while pounding his hands on his helmet and jumping up and down like a football-carrying frog.  Once that is finished Brian paces the field, having a little heart-to-heart with the football.  You know, whatever works. But once that ball starts talking back is when we will start to worry.

8. Baseball Baller, Wade Boggs

Image courtesy of MLB Reports

Former all-star third baseman and current Hall-of-Famer was, hands down, one of the most superstitious athletes known to professional sports.  His meal of choice before every game was chicken.  Boggs began batting practice at 5:17 and started sprints at 7:17.  While on deck, he would write the Hebrew word for life – Chai – in the sand.  Why was this man, who was not remotely Jewish, so particular about his pre-game routine?  We may never know, but after attending 12 All-Star games, winning a World Series, and having over 3,000 hits, we can see some method to his madness.

9. Basketball Legend, Michael Jordan

Image courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Almost every person on the face of the planet has heard of this man.  But not everyone has heard of what Jordan did during every game once he joined the Chicago Bulls professional basketball team. During every game Jordan wore his UNC game shorts under his game day Chicago Bulls shorts.  Because of this interesting addiction to his college shorts, Jordan created a buzz for longer shorts that the NBA adopted.

10.  MLB Batman, Moises Alou

Image courtesy of Inside Social

Though he is probably most well-known for the temper tantrum he had when Chicago Cubs fan, Steve Bartman, caught a foul ball out in left field during the 2003 NCLS, Alou has a tradition that most fans and athletes would find, well, disgusting.  A firm believer that batting gloves were for babies, Alou would actually pee on his hands to avoid calluses.  Whether this method works or not is not for me to say; all I know is I would not want to hi-five this guy!

As strange as all of these pre-game rituals are, the athletes who perform them definitely get the job done.

Why hello there! My name is Megan and I am a Communications major with a minor in Spanish. My family is the coolest thing since sliced break. I love to run, read, write, and do girl things like paint my nails. I watch Jane Austen movies, crochet, and find myself on Pinterest nearly daily. One of my hopes for the future is to write a book. I am passionate about volunteering, education, my dogs, and living a life for God. I hope you enjoy what I have to say! -Megan

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