“God, please help my team win.”
How many Broncos and Seahawks fans will utter these words or say this quiet prayer leading up to and during the Super Bowl this Sunday? My guess is a lot.
I never believed that fans—no matter their religious affiliation or what higher power they give honor to—were actually looking for some divine intervention when they made these prayers. I simply felt they were searching for some comfort since they knew they had no control over the game. After reading the results of a survey conducted earlier this month by the Washington DC-based Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), I now realize how very wrong I was in underestimating the importance fans place in their sports-related prayers.
It didn’t shock me—in fact, I thought it was a little low—that 21 percent of the 1,011 respondents of this survey “have either a special ritual or a lucky item of clothing they associated with a big game.” Who doesn’t know someone who’s worn the same “lucky” shirt or sat in the same spot on the couch because that’s exactly what is helping his or her team win?