I was standing on the sidelines, trying to keep potential line drives coming off the bat of Indian River High School sophomore 1B Samantha Mayfield from eliminating my own personal map, when IR senior shortstop Makenzie Collins’ glove… kind of died.
No big deal, right? It’s just a glove. An inanimate object of no particular significance. Very replaceable and nothing a quick trip to the sports department at the Hocker’s Super Center can’t fix.
I’ve never been wronger.
It turns out, as I was informed by Scott and Jill Collins while we continued to duck line drives during the Indians’ game against Delmar on Monday, that the glove had been lucky since the day that Makenzie got it when she was 10.
It also turns out that Collins is sort of partial to particular inanimate objects, at least when it comes to softball, and has been known to play with lucky bats until more perceptive umpires notice the cracks in them and force her to retire them to the garage.
The glove was still kind of touch-and-go after the game, but whether it makes it out of post-game surgery and avoids the garage with spring break to recover or no, lucky gloves still aren’t the only strange sports superstitions we’ve got going in Sussex County, or across the world of sports, for that matter.
We all remember the infamous cornrows of Sammi Whelen that helped lead the Indian River field hockey team to their first playoff appearance in over a decade this past fall, but with lucky gloves in mind, let’s take a look at some spring superstitions going down as we speak:
Apparently the many talents of Indian River High School senior midfielder George “G-Mart” Martin include, but are by no means limited to, being able to grow face-lace on par with Magnum P.I.
The new lip furniture turned up sometime around the pre-season, with the newly mustachioed Martin vowing not to bust out the clippers until the Indians lost a game.
With the lacrosse team starting off 5-0 this spring, their best start in program history, it’s safe to say that the superstition — and the mustache — ended up holding some serious water.
Unfortunately, the Indians did suffer their first loss this past weekend, to Worcester Prep, but whether the caterpillar came off after that game or no, we’ll see if it gets going again as the team looks to start a new streak with their upcoming matchup against Lake Forest.
The Eskimo’s flip-flops
Anyone seen a 6-foot, 5-inch Native American/Inuit walking around IRHS wielding a camera and usually rocking a Seahawks jersey and socks with sandals?
Well, that’s Coastal Point Tech Director, photographer extraordinaire, the Seahawks’ actual 12th man and my own personal Eskimo amigo, Shaun M. Lambert.
While I’m sure Shaun wears the sandals because of reasons of comfort, and possibly tragic personal style, I’m not sure if he only washes his socks on the king tide because of reasons of superstition or what’s the deal.
I do know that Shaun was not wearing the socks or the sandals last Monday, during the same game that Collins’ glove may or may not have had its map eliminated permanently, and that as a result, Shaun missed out on not only one, but two potential cover-shot catches from senior 2B Madi McGee, as well as sophomore catcher Grace Snyder’s first career high school home run.
Luckily for us, Mrs. Collins was there with her own personal camera, between emergency glove resuscitations.
Justin Verlander’s ‘Yo Quiero Taco Bell’ thing
Legend has it that Red Sox legend Wade Boggs ate a full rotisserie chicken before games, which may seem like a health hazard, but not when compared to Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander.
The Tigers ace admitted to putting away three Crunchy Taco Supremes, a Cheesy Gordita Crunch and a Mexican Pizza from the Taco Bell drive-through (hold the tomatoes, of course, because that would be gross) before taking the mound on game day.
I guess it’s a good thing for Verlander that he doesn’t pitch all 182 games of the season, and a good thing for me, once Shaun M. Lambert finds out about this superstition, that Ocean View is currently Taco Bell-less.
Fabrea McCray’s lucky T-shirt
This one’s more of an honorary thing than a superstition, but beneath her goalie jersey each game, IR junior keeper Fabrea McCray wears a T-shirt with the picture of her longtime friend Trevor Kramer, who passed away last year.
She also points up to the sky before each game after setting up in the goal.
“Before the game, I looked up at the sky and I said, ‘Trevor — we got this, right?’” McCray said in an interview last season.
Some pre-game practices are more meaningful than others.
The Baron’s pickle ball practices
Senior Olympics gold-medalist and unofficial Sultan of Swat on the local pickleball scene Vaughn “The Baron” Baker has seen plenty of superstitions on the courts during both his long-tenured pickleball and tennis careers.
While a pre-game V8 juice — you know, for the antioxidants and definitely not the taste — usually finds its way into the pre-pickle-hopping ritual, lately “The Baron” has developed a tendency to close the gap when he gets too big of a lead.
Baker has a thing about getting too far ahead in a match, considering it bad luck and fearing a potential “Mighty Ducks 2”-type comeback should his hubris get the best of him.
He also has another interesting practice that he’s prone to during games: “I pray for another 20 minutes of life,” he said, with a LOLZ.
Alright — well, there you have all the more-than-a-little-sticious superstitions I’ve come across on the spring sports scene. Let’s all hope that for Makenzie Collins’ sake, her lucky glove makes it to see another season, for the sake of Coastal Point sports fans that a certain Eskimo can find some dry socks, and that the V8 antioxidants keep “The Baron” in the pickleball power-ranking for at least another 20 minutes.