Inside the Clemson Locker Room: Rituals

There are examples of extremely superstitious athletes wearing the same unwashed socks, underwear or t-shirt for weeks at a time, or eating the exact same meal at the exact same time every day while in the midst of a hot streak to keep the good luck going.

But truth be known, most of those extreme cases belong to either baseball or basketball players. Football players have a tendency to rely more on their physical strength rather than any supernatural force.

Nonetheless, even members of the Clemson football team have rituals that they go through every game day.

"I'm not that superstitious," Tigers center Tommy Sharpe said. "The only thing that I do is every time they give you the playbook of defenses and blitzes, I listen to music and go over the playbook on the bus from the hotel to the stadium two times. Then I close my eyes, not trying to go to sleep or anything, but just to relax.

"Then when we get to the stadium, I try to go out and walk up and down the field to just relax and breathe in the air. That's about it. I'm not in there sacrificing chickens."

While Sharpe is taking in the scenery, most of the players chose to remain in the locker room and either listen to music, talk, pray or read passages from the Bible.

"I listen to the same (gospel) song on headphones," placekicker Jad Dean said. "It calms me down and just relaxes me. The last thing you need is to get all hyped up. Kickers need to keep their emotions in check and stay on an even keel."

Defensive back Jamaal Fudge does a little bit of everything prior to the start of a big game.

"I don't have any superstitions," he said. "I just listen to music. Everybody prays before we go out and some people read Bible verses. Each person does their own thing."

There are no voodoo chants or burning of incense to bring out the best in each player.

"I think mostly baseball players do that kind of stuff," Sharpe said. "I don't really know of any football players that do that. Everybody has small things, but I don't see people doing crazy things like taking four steps right, then four steps left and then jumping in their locker or putting their pants on with both legs at the same time. Those are baseball people."

There are players, though, like cornerback Justin Miller who don't need anything to get them prepared to take the field.

"I don't even believe in all that crazy stuff," he said. "I might listen to the same music, but that's about it. I'm not really the serious type. I'm real loose before the game starts. I don't need anything to calm me down."

However, there is one odd ritual that a couple of the players on the team go through every game, although Fudge wouldn't name names.

"Some people like their muscles showing, so they rub lotion on them so when they go out in the sun or under the lights their tattoos show," he said. "Those are usually the people that think they look really good or are always looking at themselves in the mirror.

"There's a lot of different things that goes on in the locker room, but I ain't telling." Top Stories