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Lucky Lamp Lighting And Anchovy Overload: Wacky Rituals Sports Fans Swear By


Sports seems to bring out the superstitions in everyone. This Super Bowl Sunday, New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams fans are going all out for their teams by wearing their lucky shirts, watching their lucky TV's, eating that game-changing sandwich, like Ellen Straus from Medfield, Mass.

ELLEN STRAUS: I am a rabid Patriots fan and will be rooting for them on Sunday.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Each week, Straus and a group of friends give the Patriots all the winning energy by eating food and drinks inspired by the opposing team's city. On the menu today, Korean street tacos, Moscow mules and hot fudge sundaes, all of which have a history in LA. Other match-ups have featured...

STRAUS: Maryland crab cakes for the Baltimore Ravens, Coney Island hot dogs and Reuben sandwiches for the Jets, for Chicago, the Bears, deep-dish pizza.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: In North Conway, N.H., sports is like a religion for some Patriots fans. And the Reverend Doctor Ruth Shaver says in her congregation, it's encouraged.

RUTH SHAVER: I will wear red, white and blue over to the church. And then I will wear my blue robe with my white stall. And very likely, most of my congregation will either be wearing Pats jerseys, Pats hats, Pats sweatshirts or be wearing red, white and blue.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But those across the country pulling for the Rams aren't taking any chances either. Jose Francisco Fonseca of Alpine, Texas, has a superstition about eating anchovies on just about everything.

JOSE FRANCISCO FONSECA: Could be a torta, could be a pizza, a burrito, tacos, whatever. I just eat anchovies on that Sunday.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: He says the game day anchovy tradition came from his uncle.

FONSECA: He would say something about the bounty of the sea and that it brings good fortune.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But you're going to be hard-pressed to find anyone who puts more effort into their sports superstitions than Mike Flowers of Fort Defiance, Ariz. He's rooting for the Patriots tonight. But the lucky Kentucky native reserves his full routine for his favorite team, the University of Kentucky.

MIKE FLOWERS: On game day, I have a certain outfit that I have to wear. And it consists of a pair of old brown Dockers. They're my lucky pants. So one hour before the games, I light what I call my lucky UK lamp. It's a clay...

And then I also have a lucky UK banner that I hang outside of my house, so - at 10 minutes before the game. Then I have to open up my lucky UK beer, which is the Sierra Nevada IPA. I have to put the television remote in a certain place. And after halftime, I have to stand. And when I stand, I can only hold my beer in my right hand. I can't hold it...

At exactly 10 minutes after the game, if we win, I have to blow out my lucky UK lamp. I go outside to take the banner down off the garage door. And it has to be taken down in a certain special manner. And I really can't give a lot of details about it because if I do, then maybe I'm going to jinx myself.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So whichever team you're rooting for tonight, good luck. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday and one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. She is infamous in the IT department of NPR for losing laptops to bullets, hurricanes, and bomb blasts.