Sports nuts will do anything to tempt Lady Luck. Athletes flaunt lucky undergarments; fans go years without washing lucky aprons or ball caps. But food-related sports rituals are even more intriguing—not to mention delicious. We’ve compiled a short list of some of the sports world’s simplest, silliest, and most sugar-laden good-luck rituals. As always, if we’ve left out your favorite athlete’s ritual nosh, let us know in the comments.
Oven MittPherson cheers on the Bengals
Lifelong Bengals fan Kelley Burtis plans to cheer her team to victory during this weekend’s Super Bowl—with her lucky oven mitt in tow. Cincinnati news station WCPO reports that Burt’s oven mitt is the result of some slightly misguided online shopping.
Burt currently lives in Missouri, so when Cincinnati played Kansas City—her husband’s team—in the AFC championship, she realized she was fresh out of Bengals gear. Hoping to help, her mother did a little online shopping. “And I just kept scrolling and scrolling, and all of a sudden there were really cool-looking... foam fingers,” Burtis’ mother told WCPO. “So I ordered two—one for each hand.” Turns out, they were oven mitts.
That won’t stop Burt from rocking the mitts during the Super Bowl. She’s even named one of the mitts in honor of Bengal Evan McPherson’s AFC game-winning kick. Yes, readers—Oven MittPherson will be riding high this Sunday.
Don’t leave home without your lucky chicken
Last year, we reported that a Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv Football Club superfan was arrested over the weekend after attempting to sneak a lucky chicken named Rambo into the team’s stadium prior to a match. The culprit’s friend told Israeli news source KAN that he and his friends have been toting chickens to Bnei Yehuda games for 41 years, a tradition that began after a particularly sore losing streak. “We slaughtered a lamb, brought rabbis, nothing helped,” Goher told KAN. Goher, along with a few other fans, attempted a few more rituals—before inexplicably deciding that chickens were the team’s good luck charm. Safe to say these chickens were saved from a nuggety future.
When it Pinto Rains, it Pinto Pours
Earlier this year, Takeout writer Lillian Stone sat down with Pinto Ron, a longtime Buffalo Bills superfan and legendary tailgate host. In Pinto Ron’s world, good-luck rituals are key—including something he calls the Ketchup Opening Ceremony. Pinto Ron explains:
“This is a procedure that’s evolved over about 30 years. It’s always at 11:30, or an hour and a half before kickoff. I’ve got a bunch of people standing on the roof of a van with ketchup and mustard; I’ve got a guy that acts like an emcee to warm up the crowd. Sometimes we’ll have as many as 800 or 1,000 people gathered to watch. I’ll start out way at the back of the crowd with a burger in my hand, and I’ll push through looking confused. The idea is that somebody gave me a burger and there’s no ketchup on it. Then [the people on the van] unload on me. For every ceremony, we use three 64-ounce ketchups and pre-loaded caulk guns filled with mustard.”
Lamar Odom’s sweet tooth fueled his best games
Years ago, Lamar Odom made headlines for his unflappable love of candy. Video footage emerged of Odom’s personal assistant procuring his candy stash, which included Twizzler bites, gummy bears, Hershey’s Cookies & Cream bars, Lifesavers, and peach rings. Per ESPN, Odom credited his candy habit for a particularly stellar performance in the 2009 Western Conference finals. “It’s funny because the games I played well were the games where I ate candy for breakfast,” he said, grinning. “It’s the reason why I got double digits in points and rebounds. I guess I’m going to have to eat candy for breakfast in order to play well.”
Claude Giroux knows the power of a grilled cheese
Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux keeps it simple with his pre-game dining ritual. Per an NHL article, Giroux’s mom served him a classic grilled cheese sandwich before hockey games as a wee tot. Now, Giroux fuels up with a grilled cheese before every single game. The NHL writes:
“In a world of artisan breads and gourmet cheeses, he keeps it simple and does it the way his mom used to when he was growing up in Hearst, Ontario. ‘It’s just white bread, sliced cheese and a little bit of ketchup on the side,’ he said, also noting the all-important step of buttering both sides of the sandwich before putting it in the hot pan.”
Giroux isn’t alone in his dedication to classic childhood foodstuffs. Former Celtics star Paul Pierce reportedly noshed on a peanut butter sandwich exactly 55 minutes before each game.