Tripple Overtime: Sammi Whelen’s cornrows not the weirdest sports superstition

Date Published: 
September 23, 2016

To quote the famous and fictitious Michael Scott, “I’m not superstitious, but I am, a little stiticious.”


I think the same can be said for a lot of famous and non-fictitious sports stars, including, but not limited to, Indian River High School field hockey defender Sammi Whelen and her now-famous and very real cornrows.

Think about it.

The Indians are off to a 3-0 start, with wins over Sussex Tech, Laurel and Woodbridge, and with Whelen rocking the rows for all three games.

Coincidence? Well…yeah, sure, probably. But even if the undefeated record has more to do with, like, hard work and determination and other talking points that Gatorade typically tells Peyton Manning to… talk about, while shooting ad campaigns — and even if you can’t prove that being just a little bit stitious has something to do with the win streak, you also can’t prove that it doesn’t, either.

In fact, the theory is so convincing, that I’m even starting to consider cornrowing-up before writing columns or going to games, to potentially limit poorly constructed narratives, misspelled last names, and, of course, fantod-inducing page-long run-on sentences.

If it turns out that the rows don’t end up working for sports reporters, however, here are a few other of the most super of stitions ever seen in sports that I might consider trying. Some super-superstitions, if you will.

Wade Boggs and rotisserie chicken

While I’m personally terrified of poultry (you can never tell what they, as in chickens, are thinking, among other concerns), anyone from Boston can tell you that former Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs was most definitely not.

Boggs even earned himself the nickname “Chicken Man” and was rumored to have superstitiously consumed a wicked amount of rotisserie before games. He was also rumored to have once consumed 107 beers in one day, so you can probably take that drumstick with a grain of salt.

Interestingly enough, I’ve also heard rumors of IRHS soccer coach Steve Kilby emulating Boggs’ luck by heading to Royal Farms for some “Real Fresh. Real Fast.” before big games, but my source could neither confirm nor deny the incredibly stitious claim.

Michael Jordan and his UNC shorts

Considering that his own personal Nike shoe label has sold probably billions of either pairs or individual shoes, or both, by now, it’s no surprise that when “His Airness” started rocking the shorts of his alma mater under his officially licensed Chicago Bulls shorts in 1984, a lot of other players in the league started to follow.

The superstition turned Jordan into a superstar and may or may not have been responsible for all six of M.J.’s championship rings.

Interesting enough, I have it on good authority that Point graphic artist Tom Maglio wears Superman pajamas under his Old Navy sweaters when designing ads and pages, which may or may not have been responsible for his recent “Best in Show” at the MDDC awards.

Patrick Roy talking to goalposts

Patrick Roy was one of the greatest NHL goalkeepers of all time. He also liked to talk to goalposts.

Not just like a casual, “Hey, goalpost — how’s it going?” but more along the lines of like full-fledged conversations, with the goalposts, about potentially philosophical and/or political topics.

The whole talking-to-inanimate-objects Brick Tamland-style (“I love lamp”) thing, seemed to work for Roy, but for the sake of sanity, let’s hope we don’t see IR soccer goalies Kevin Calles or Fabrea McCray discussing the capital forming effects of military mobilization with the net anytime soon.

Caron Butler and Mountain Dew

Before every game while playing at UConn, rumor has it that former Huskies’ small forward Caron Butler would have his wife go to the store to pick him up a 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew.

He would down the bottle’s first liter before the game, and then, at halftime, finish the rest of the carbonated chemical cocktail, miraculously without ever painting the gym’s floor green during fast breaks in the game’s third quarter.

When he entered the NBA, Butler continued the tradition, keeping several refrigerators full of Mountain Dew in the locker room until when, in 2007, while playing for the Washington Wizards, the NBA Players Association gave him the ol’ Mountain Don’t, concerning the Dew, and barred him from consuming the substance during games.

Interestingly enough, Point tech director and photographer Shaun Lambert also consumes a 2-liter of Mountain Dew before games, and, like, pretty much every other day, also. It’s seemed to work for the Infamous Eskimo so far, considering that just last week he captured one of the best sports photos I’ve seen to date (titled “G-Mart running without helmet vs. Tech”), which may be why the Coastal Point has yet to ban the substance on press days.

Swimming in crocodile/hippo-infested water before soccer games

In 2008, the coach of the African football club Midlands Portland Cement had his squad take a dip in Zambezi River before a game, in an effort to reverse their luck while on a losing streak.

The part of the river that they chose to baptize themselves in, at the time, had been closed off due to strong currents and particularly heavy hippo and crocodile infestation.

It’s safe to say that this superstition didn’t exactly work, considering one of the players ended up drowning, and the team lost their next match anyway.

This is another superstition that we’ll hope that the Indians don’t deem lucky, as it would be a particular shame if, say, IR forward Mikie Mochiam was snatched up by a Hungry Hungry Hippo when the team needed him to net another game-winning Henlopen Conference Championship goal in overtime against Cape Henlopen or something.

Also, for IR Athletic Director Todd Furhmann’s sake, the flight into Zimbabwe would probably most likely not be in the sports budget, I’m guessing, is the other thing.

So, there you have it. Superstitious, a little stitious or no, the cornrows don’t seem all too left-field anymore, now do they? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a free cornrows consultation with my barber, and I may even pick up a case of Code Red and have a heart-to-heart with a mailbox or something after that.