Pre-game rituals are some of the scariest, most glorious, and most baffling practices in all of sports. But, there are some pre-game rituals that make people cringe, cower in fear, or get vicariously psyched more than any other.
Whether they are meant to get an individual focused, intimidate their opponents, or charm a player with good fortune, these eleven pre-game rituals are certainly among the world’s most iconic, most terrifying, and most peculiar.
11. The Globo Gym Purple Cobras
In 2004, the Globo Gym Purple Cobras came within one match from being dodgeball world champions.
A large portion of their success was their pre-game chant, which was led by White Goodman—the team’s captain.
Done to the tune of the iconic intro from Queen’s “We Will Rock You”, the team marched onto the dodgeball court—trumping opponents in the wake of the ritual’s execution.
10. Laurent Blanc: The Kiss of Victory
French footballer Laurent Blanc used to kiss his goaltending teammates baldhead before the start of every game.
The move has given a whole new definition to the phrase, “a kiss of good luck.”
9. Bryce Harper: Seven Showers and Eggo Waffles
Bryce Harper claims that—one game day—he eats an eggo waffle before taking seven showers.
But, he still vehemently refuses to answer questions about whether or not he chooses to drink beer in Canada as a way to celebrate a home run.
Hence, his post-game rituals still remain a mystery.
8. Rajon Rondo: Scarily Intricate
Celtics’ point guard, Rajon Rondo is hailed as one of the league’s most intelligent—and most meticulous—players.
His pregame ritual is among the most intricate in the NBA, and—apparently—he does it before every game.
The ritual is difficult to explain, but it involves the arena’s back hallway and it ends with him juggling four basketballs at one time.
There isn’t much of an explanation needed on this one. Also, it is somewhat peculiar that his ritual got solely attached to Tim Tebow, considering that many NFL players pray before and after games.
But, due to Tebow’s iconic status, the act of praying—along with the pose—got associated to him. At this point, his last name turned into a verb.
6. Moises Alou
Tough hands and hitting are causally related, according to Moises Alou. In fact, the former MLB star went to urine-related extremes in order to ensure proper hand care.
The rest is subject to your imagination.
5. Ray Lewis: The Dance
For most of his career, Ray Lewis entered the game in the same fashion—with a dance to Nelly’s hit song “Hot in Herre”.
This was preceded by him eating a piece of grass from the stadium—a manly gesture from a man who constantly emphasized that football was a “man’s game.”
4. Jason Giambi: Scary Images
Ever want to picture Jason Giambi in a golden thong?
Well, regardless of the fortitude of your own stomach, the former baseball star engaged in such a practice—all for the sake of good luck.
3. Owen Schmitt
Concussions are a top issue in football. But, Owen Schmitt would have a difficult time blaming others for the head injuries that he most likely suffered during his pre-game ritual—one where he bashed his helmet against his forehead.
2. John Henderson
>During his days with the Jaguars, videos surfaced of John Henderson relying on very odd ways to get himself pumped for a game.
At his request, a man named “Joe”—about a quarter the size of Henderson—slapped Henderson repeatedly across the face.
After which, Henderson chanted the following to his teammates, “Let’s kick their ass!”
Clearly, the ritual wasn’t entirely effective, as evidenced by the Jaguar’s overall trend of mediocrity over the past several years. Perhaps it would have been better if Henderson said, “I’m gonna kick their ass!”– Henderson was among the league’s best defensive tackles for a long stretch of time.
1. The Haka
The All Blacks—the National Rugby team from New Zealand—engage in this dance before every game.
The dance is a war dance of tribal origins. And, some other teams claim that it gives the team and unfair psychological edge.