Tonight is game six of the World Series, and there are a lot of uncertainties (will the Kansas City Royals pose a comeback? Will the San Francisco Giants win their third title in five seasons?). But there is one thing that’s for sure—both Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez, two of the Royals' top players, will be wearing women’s perfume.
Why? For luck, of course.
The two routinely spray it on to bring them a little good fortune in their games, reports USA Today. Shortstop Escobar likes an unnamed Victoria Secret fragrance, while Perez wears Carolina Herrera's 212 ($54, amazon.com). The routine started when Escobar put some on before a game a while back and then got three hits. Pleased with the results, he kept the surprising habit up. Perez caught on to the ritual and decided to jump on the perfume bandwagon, too.
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It's unclear what lead Escobar to try women's perfume in the first place—but who are we to judge a man for his choice of good luck charms (or his beauty decisions, for that matter).
While it may seem like it doesn’t make much “scents,” the players aren't spritzing in vain. There is something to having good luck charm or ritual, according to a small study out of the University of Cologne in 2010. Researchers gave a group of people golf balls and half were told their ball was lucky. Those who used the “lucky” balls sank 6.4 out of the 10 balls on average—two more than those who didn’t have the “lucky” balls, suggesting simply believing in their luck helped them perform better.
In another study, by the same researchers as the putt-putt study, participants were allowed to bring in their own lucky items: wedding rings and stuffed animals, for example. Then the researchers let half the participants hang onto their chosen charms but told the others they would get theirs back later while all of them took a series of memory tests.
So why might silly superstitions actually work? Here, are three reasons.
They give you confidence
To sink a basketball shot or nail a work presentation, you have to believe you can do it. A superstition can help you do that. The technical term for believing in yourself enough to achieve a goal is called self-efficacy, psychologist Lysann Damisch in an interview with the Association for Psychological Science.
They make you reach higher
You don't know what you're capable of unless you try! Because you have more confidence when you're clinging to a lucky charm, that in turn, can lead to setting a higher goal for yourself, one you might not reach for otherwise. This means that perfume-wearing Escobar might, say, swing at riskier pitches or more readily steal bases, because he feels there's less of a chance of failure, what with the luck on his side and all.
They make you not want to give up
And lastly, to succeed, you've got to stick with it. In studies, those with lucky charms were also more persistent with the task. It could be that they knew they had the “power” on their side, and it was only a matter of time before they tapped into it.
So does all this mean the Kansas City Royals are going to come out on top? Well, they certainly have a chance.
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