Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fans share how they ‘bring luck’ to team

Kansas fans Nancy Kisner, Pratt, and her daughters Audrey, center, and Jana cheer during a pregame pep rally Friday in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas fans Nancy Kisner, Pratt, and her daughters Audrey, center, and Jana cheer during a pregame pep rally Friday in Kansas City, Mo.


Rodney Stephenson is one of the reasons Kansas University won against Texas A&M; University on Friday evening.

At least he thinks so.

Stephenson, St. Joseph, Mo., was front and center in Kansas City’s Power & Light District for the Jayhawks’ semifinal game against the Aggies in the Big 12 Tournament. Wearing all green KU gear complete with shamrocks on his hat and shirt, Stephenson knew Kansas was going to win. He brought the luck.

“I wasn’t going to leave anything to chance,” Stephenson said after KU sealed a 79-55 victory and advanced to today’s championship game.

Stephenson said he’s been a Jayhawk fan since birth and does whatever he can to will the team he loves to victory.

He’s not alone.

Jayhawk basketball fans do a little bit of everything when they think it’s helping the team.

Overland Park resident and KU alum Steve McGhee said his friends changed viewing locations during halftime if Kansas was behind. He was a little more skeptical and said he didn’t always follow their lead.

“I don’t think it ever really worked,” McGhee said.

Jayhawk fan Carrie Buckley, Waldo, Mo., said her aunt engaged in stretches during KU games because she believed it helped the team score points; Catherine Lewis of Overland Park said her parents always popped popcorn in the middle of Jayhawk games.

Lifelong Kansas fan David Sheppard lends the team a helping hand in close games. Sheppard, of Gladstone, Mo., steps outside during the dying minutes of games when the Jayhawks are behind and lights a cigarette. Then he prays.

Kansas fans will have another chance to partake in their various superstitious rituals today when the Jayhawks vie for the Big 12 Tournament championship.

Stephenson said he’ll be there, and he’s bringing his luck.


avaholic 10 years, 8 months ago

If KU is down at halftime, I will take a shower and stay in the shower until KU starts playing better. It's like I'm cleansing the team. Stupid I know, but I gotta do something. Yesterday at the Texas A&M game, I had to go to the bathroom and wet my hands and clean my face and arms.

UncleMiltyN 10 years, 8 months ago

Here are some of my favorites. I've either seen people do these or engaged in them myself.

-Going over and touching the headstones of Naismith, etc. in east Lawrence...

-Not shaving on game day (I like this ritual. It's a long story, but it's from the Coach Brown days. He is the most superstitious coach ever. I'm surprised all the time by the number of people who engage in this one.)

-Everybody turn their hats around backwards when the game starts going south.

-Bring your t-shirts, buttons, etc. from the good years and set them around the television like a shrine....

-Stand up in your living room when the other team shoots foul shots. (My neighbor does this one....cracks me up.)

BayJayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I didn't have a Christmas tree because of living on the West Coast and being away from family in KC. My girlfriend lives in New York, so a tree would just be something to take down after the holidays and remind me of everyone I miss. She got me a Christmas tree with all KU ornaments, knowing I couldn't refuse to put it up. When I expressed I didn't want to take it down after Christmas because it was so cool she suggested leaving it up. She said, "They're winning. Why not think of it as a Swishmas Tree?" It's still up! I plug it in every game. The game I forgot to plug it in? OK State! (Tenn was before I got it.) My girlfriend is a converted HUGE Jayhawk fan in New York, by the way and watches every game.

okiedave 10 years, 8 months ago

I believe it is best to stay in touch with reality and come to the realization that we have no power or control in the outcome of the game while in front of the T.V. set. However, just in case, I find myself changing chairs when things are not going well. Seems to work.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

I still believe my brother had the most self-less, but also masochistic superstition of all KU fans I have ever known. He is a man not prone to superstition either. Rather more pragmatic than I am, also. But starting around Brandon Rush's freshman season, and deep in middle age himself, he got it in his head that if he started out watching a KU game and they started badly, if he quit watching the televised game, and merely listened to it on the radio, they would turn it around and win. He held to this ritual until last season sometime, when he suddenly decided the luck of that ritual had finally extinguished. I am so glad for him that he now gets to watch all of the games beginning to end, whether we play well, or poorly.

As for me, I have no superstitions, unless you consider turning away from the TV, when KU is doing poorly, and watching the game through a wall mirror until KU closes the gap a superstition. :-)

lincase 10 years, 8 months ago

You have to sit in one place during the game and not move until half time. Then you go play one of our pinball machines during the half. You must sit in the same chair for the second half and not move.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago


Gotta hand it to you. You are a man's man!!!!

Lance Hobson 10 years, 8 months ago

I found that if I pray to God for the best team to win, KU usually wins. I started that in '88 at the beginning of the tourney and it obviously worked pretty well that year. Of course, I just about became an atheist after those weak Roy teams of '96-'98 kept choking. Actually I just decided not to watch KU at all in the tourney for a few years after that act. BTW, I read a good editorial in SI about Bill Self and it mentioned how Roy's teams were known to be soft and would wilt when the pressure was on during the big games. Man, wasn't that the truth.

I'll also start cleaning the house like a madman when KU is doing bad. I don't think it's a superstition but probably just a way of dealing with nervous energy. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't, but the place gets straightened up like you read about.

Lance Hobson 10 years, 8 months ago

I went to a UNC fan's house in Chapel Hill a couple of weeks ago and the guy had a UNC Christmas tree still up. I think it's been up for a while. Anyway, it seemed fairly pathetic. It certainly ain't a Swishmas tree this year.

magnanadanna 10 years, 8 months ago

Avoid the word "Good" like the plague. It's a jinx. And, you can't use it as a weapon against the enemy. It backfires every time.

mikehawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Well, living in Tulsa I used to put my KU flag out in front of the house. After some humiliating loss I can no longer remember, my son forever after refuses to let me put my flag out because it is bad luck. Also, if I start saying we are going to lose during the game, which I almost always say repeatedly during any tough game, my son feels safe because he thinks that is good luck. He conversely gets very upset if I suggest while watching a game that I think we are going to win. Sadly, this sick superstition actually has proven itself accurate on several occasions. Also, I have not watched NCAA games live, only recorded after wins, for a number years. Please! Does anybody know a good therapist!?

okiedave 10 years, 8 months ago


Same here. Everytime my KU flag went up we lost. I will save you $200.00 for a therapy visit. Never display the flag for a football game because the odds are simply going to reinforce your suspicion that the flag is a reason for the loss. Never display the flag when the basketball team plays in Stillwater. Display the flag proud at all other times and you will discover the flag gives the team good luck.

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