sports psychologist & clinical psychology

WHEN IT COMES TO THE FATE OF THE GIANTS, KNOCKING ON WOOD, HANGING HORSESHOES AND STEERING CLEAR OF BLACK CATS JUST WON’T DO. BIG BLUE SUPERSTITIONS ARE MUCH MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT

New York Daily News – Jan 28, 2008 – Christina Kinon – When it comes to the fate of the Giants, knocking on wood, hanging horseshoes and steering clear of black cats just won’t do. Big Blue superstitions are much more complicated than that.

“When me and my friends watch the game we always must do a Jager bomb after every score, and if we do n’t do one immediately following points then it’s very bad luck,” says life-long ¬Giants fan Jonathan Hays, 23, of New Jersey. “Also, a shot of Jameson after a win to continue the good vibes. We go to the same bar during every streak, sit in the same seats and order the same food.”

“I watch the game at my buddy’s place, and sit on the left side of the couch,” writes another G-men fan on the Daily News’ Giants-dedicated blog “The Blue Screen.” “I wear my oldest pair of jeans and my new Brandon Jacobs jersey with my Giants T-shirt underneath, unwashed, and my signed Giants hat.”

According to an Associated Press/Ipsos poll conducted in October, one in five sports fans say or do things that they think will bring their favorite team good luck.

“The fan feels that he is part of something bigger than himself and that’s what drives that kind of behavior,” according to John F. Murray, a clinical and sport psychologist based in Palm Beach, Fla.

“It’s a human affiliation response. They’re going to wear their jersey, cut their hair or paint their face in an effort to feel like they’re having some small part of the effort toward victory.”

Here are some other examples of what local fans will be doing to bring their team game day “luck” on Sunday:

A VOODOO DANCE “[It] has worked more than once to push an opponent’s ‘game- winning’ field goal attempt wide. Stand in a crouch before your TV, wave your arms up and down as if you’re a sorcerer casting a spell and say: ‘Voodoo! I put the voodoo on you! Voodoo!’ a couple times.”

OBSESSIVELY-COMPUSIVELY TOUCHING ALL GIANTS-RELATED PARAPHERNALIA IN THE HOUSE “A) A poster of the two Lombardi trophies with Simms, Mara and Anderson signatures, B) a Giants nutcracker, C) a miniGiants helmet, D) a Giants golf towel, E) three Giants hats, F) a piece of Waterford crystal in the shape of a football and another piece in the shape of a shamrock, and G) finally, pictures of my deceased dad and mom who I know are watching the G-men from heaven every week.”

SACRIFICING THE CHILDHOOD OF THEIR 9-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER FOR THE W “[She] has a stuffed Giants bear who she believes is single-handedly responsible for this Super Bowl run. She makes sure it’s in the room when the game starts, then she shakes it at the TV before every play.”

CUTTING OFF ALL COMMUNICATION WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD “[One friend] won’t answer the phone or reply to a text message during the game, and he won’t even open the door, so you better show up before kickoff.”

Murray says fans’ inclination toward wearing unwashed underwear won’t really help Eli Manning throw a game-winning TD in the final 3 seconds. “It has absolutely no impact on the actual contest,” says Murray of fans’ superstitious rituals.

“It’s like touching the Queen’s hand or kissing the Pope’s ring; you do it just to have some feeling that you’re part of something that’s really big.

“However, I don’t think the fans have no effect on the game,” adds Murray. “Fans have a tremendous impact as a whole. It’s like having another player on the field when all the fans in the stands

unify with a particular color or noise.”

But if you can’t make it to Arizona on Sunday, go ahead and sit on the left side of the couch with your Jager, wearing your crusty old jersey and hat. It might not actually help the Giants, but it can help you.

“As long as it doesn’t interfere with occupational or social or other important areas of their life, it’s probably healthy in a diversion sense,” says Murray.

“It gives them some sense

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.

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