A superstitious mindset

Superstitions can be a part of individuals’ everyday lives, often being accredited to personal successes and failures.


Remi Nuss

Freshman dancer Dylan Barnes said The Pack Dance Team participates in an affirmations circle prior to their performances.

Wearing a lucky t-shirt before a sports game, never opening an umbrella inside and crossing your fingers are all examples of common superstitions. According to NBC News, superstitions are ideas our brains construct and faithfully believe in. Superstitions stem from the same human trait that causes people to believe in monsters and ghosts; when the brain does not understand something, it makes something up or tries to reason with an invented explanation.

Senior Kylie Martin said on the first day of every new year, her family eats black eyed peas to bring them good luck the rest of the year. Martin said she remembers doing this for several years.

“Well, I’ve always done [the superstition]. So like, I’m kind of scared to not do it because I don’t know what will happen,” Martin said.

Additionally, Martin said she believes there is no specific set of rules when it comes to being superstitious, but she thinks it is a habit that leads to good fortune.

“It is something you believe [in] that works for certain things and kind of brings you good luck sometimes,” Martin said. 

Digital illustration of various, common superstitions. (Avery Sigg)

Though she believes in some things, Martin said she does not consider herself an overly-superstitious person. 

“Well, there are just certain things [I do not believe in], like how people believe crystals can heal you. I’ve never been one to believe that,” Martin said.

In addition to this superstition, Martin said she believes knocking on wood will ward off bad luck after tempting fate. Whenever someone mentions the BVNW marching band not winning a competition, Martin said she would always knock on wood. Later, the band did win a competition, which Martin said she accredits to this practice.

The BVNW Pack dance team also has a few superstitions they believe have brought them success. Freshman Dylan Barnes explained how the team prepares before getting on the floor for a performance. 

“[We] stand in a circle and talk about certain things we need to remember,” Barnes said. “We bring positive affirmations in so when we get on the floor, we have a positive mindset rather than being more scared or nervous.”

Barnes said the idea for this ritual came from Northwest’s cheer team and other competition dance companies. 

“It’s so important to bring a positive mindset and to ignore everything else bad that’s going on,” Barnes said. “Remind yourself to be present in the moment and what to think about when you’re onstage”

Barnes said the team also has a habit of sharing “Lucky Charms” before going on stage. 

“We all pass around [a bag of marshmallows] and take a marshmallow. We all eat the marshmallows [at] the exact same time, right before we go on [stage],” Barnes said. 

Knocking on wood to prevent a jinx after saying something premature is an incredibly common superstition. (Remi Nuss)

Barnes said this ritual has worked so far during their season. As for carrying on this tradition, he said he believes it will continue.

Similar to this, freshman Adria Heinauer participates in cross country, soccer, and basketball. She said she has a few superstitions that she practices before her sports events. 

“Before sports events, for my meal I’ll have a [peanut butter and jelly sandwich] and a banana,” Heinauer said. 

Additionally, Heinauer said she will tie her shoelaces multiple times so as to not trip and listen to a specific playlist before a game. 

Like Barnes, Heinauer described how her basketball team will circle up before a game and that their coach gives them candy for good luck.

“If it’s our first game, or our fourth game or whatever we have a cheer,” Heinauer said. “Our coach always gives us Lifesavers and I always eat the red Lifesaver.”

While Heinauer said that nothing necessarily bad has happened when one of these rituals was not performed, she concluded that the pre-game cheer is her favorite good luck habit. 

“[It would] definitely [be] the cheer, because we all get together and it’s something fun,” Heinauer said. 

Superstitions are ways for people to reduce anxiety, and provide a sense of control. They can also induce a positive mindset, and provide encouragement. Though methods and situations vary, almost all superstitions have one common element: the hope to maintain good fortune and avoid bad luck.