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Continued: Football fans are true believers at game time

“I would be highly skeptical,” said the Rev. Michael Van Sloun of St. Bartholomew Catholic Faith Community in Wayzata, a chaplain for the Vikings for 11 seasons.

During his time with the Vikings, Van Sloun said he regularly prayed with players for avoiding injuries, quick recoveries and good sportsmanship, but they never prayed to win.

“God is the God of the Broncos and the God of the Seahawks,” Van Sloun said, “He loves both teams, both sets of players and both sets of fans.”

Lots of rituals

The survey found that 21 percent of fans perform a ritual before or while watching their team. Wearing a team jersey or team colors was the most popular ritual. But 21 percent reported activities “such as dancing in a circle, sitting in the same seat, or talking to their television,” the survey reported.

Barker said one of his patrons brings a bobblehead and sets it on his table before games. One fan reports he doesn’t eat a certain dessert so he doesn’t jinx the game. Another pulls off his jersey when the going gets tough, just to put on the pressure.

The one survey question that equally divided respondents was whether “God rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success.” On that 48 percent agreed, 47 percent disagreed.

With Super Bowl just days away, are sports fans consulting with higher powers about who will win? Not Joe Garcia of Richfield, whose prediction of a Seahawks win is based on something far more earthly.

Said Garcia: “I’ve got money on that game!”


Eric Best, a University of Minnesota student reporter assigned to the Star Tribune, contributed to this story. Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511


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