Smelly socks, unwashed T-shirts and empty seats: Preds fans have all sorts of superstitions

Michael Crowe reports from Market Square where they will host a watch party for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on June 12.June 9, 2017-4pm

Cristin and Jay Lewis have good hockey seats. Like, just-off-the-glass good.

But they spent the second period of Monday’s Stanley Cup Final game watching the game on a tiny TV over a nearby concession stand.

Why? Superstition.

The Lewises always leave their seats during the first intermission to grab food and drinks. If they don’t get back to their spot before the Predators score in the second period, then they just don't go.

Seriously.

“I just can’t go back in,” Cristin Lewis said, perched at a hightop table in an all-but-empty concourse on Monday.

The Predators had just taken the lead and, well, the Lewises didn’t want to blow the home team's mojo.

In fact, they have been known to exit the arena entirely — leaving empty seats that would be the envy of many — to watch the rest of the game at The Palm.

Just for good luck.

When their empty-seats superstition works, and this playoff run it has been nearly perfect, the feeling that they had something to do with the outcome is reinforced.

"I think it helps us feel like we are part of the team." Cristin Lewis said. "And the win."

Talk to nearly any fan in Bridgestone, and you will find superstition after superstition. From smelly socks and beer-drenched T-shirts, to burrito consumption and up-do hairstyles. Preds diehards do it all.

The rituals and routines may seem ridiculous, but sports fans can be just that when it comes to the passion they have for their team.

Just consider the catfish.

Earrings hold the mojo

For playoff games, Lisa Perinka has a specific plan that includes always wearing her Preds earrings, but only during game time. And she must rub them at the beginning of each period to get the mojo right.

She also wears her P.K. Subban jersey, gold ballet flats (the lucky pair that only get worn to games), her gold Preds glasses, and one particular pair of jeans.

Oh, and her hair needs to be up in a bun. Ponytails are banned!

Things get more interesting when she is at home during a game. For the third period, she has to go up to her bedroom and do something productive — like organize her closets — to ensure the win.

The game the Preds were losing in the 3rd against the Ducks, she finished the closet and crawled in bed to finish watching the game. The Ducks scored almost instantaneously. "It was totally my fault," she said.

"So, I know this is crazy, but I truly believe my mojo is part of the win. And, hey, if it works and isn't hurting anybody, I'm good."

The socks that never change

Kori Bailey's thick gray socks, emblazoned with a hot pink Titans logo, are a key element of a playoff wardrobe that never changes for Bailey.

She wears the same SMASH hat, same gray scarf, same white Subban sweater, same jeans, same boots, and same socks. Every. Single. Game.

"Not the same underwear," she says, with a laugh.

Kori Bailey wears the exact same outfit to every Predators.

She grew up in Michigan and learned from her Dad very early in life that when it comes to hockey luck: "Guys don't shave their beards and you never, ever wash your jersey."

Laundry is forbidden

Cameron Sloan also is adverse to laundry.

On Saturday night, when the Predators hosted their first-ever Stanley Cup Final game in Nashville for Game 3, a guy spilled an entire beer over the front of Sloan's dark blue Predators shirt.

When it dried later that night, it stunk. But Sloan didn't dare clean it. The Preds won.

"I was not going to wash off the good luck," Sloan said.

Instead, he put the shirt — a gift from his fiance — back on Monday for Game 4, covering the smell with a few spritzes of Dolce & Gabbana.

Corey Redding's lucky T-shirt says nothing about Predators or hockey. It's a Disney World Orlando shirt that he bought last year on a family vacation. He wears it underneath his Predators pullover for every game.

It comes from the Magic Kingdom, so maybe there's magic in it. Though, truthfully, Redding says he picked it because it's blue.

A former Lipscomb University baseball player, Redding knows a thing or two about athletic superstitions. "It's almost ingrained in me," he says.

Ripped pants a small price to pay

Brian Sweatt feels the same.

That's why, when he split his jeans down both the front and back while trying to step down over the seat rows in Section 319 during Game 3, he still wore them.

That night (covered by a shirt that graciously was the game-day giveaway). And again for Game 4. And for the Game 5 watch party.

Rips and all.

"Thank goodness for duck tape," he says with a laugh.

Over the years, Sweatt has coached varsity football, girls basketball and baseball. He now serves as headmaster at Lighthouse Christian School in Antioch. "Routine and habit is very important," he says, "and anything that may occur in preparation for a game or on game day you try to keep the same."

With that in mind, it was his friends reacting to a social media post about his ripped jeans that convinced him they must be luck. He needed to keep wearing them after that.

"You know deep down it doesn't make a difference," Sweatt says. "It's the Preds' great play on the ice that brings about results, but it's fun to maintain everything that helped bring the perceived success.

"This has been such an amazing journey to be on with our Nashville Predators and I think our whole town would do about anything if we thought it would help our Preds."

Plus, he adds, you know what would happen if he didn't wear the jeans, right?

And that brings us back to the Lewises. In addition to the second-period situation, Cristin will never attend a game with her 15-year-old son, Parks Wallace. Every game she has ever gone to with him, the Preds have lost.

"Say what you will," Jay Lewis said, "but 0-20 is beyond superstition."

"There's no way we're going to a playoff game together,"' Cristin said of her son.

Then she went back to watching the tiny TV in the concourse — playing her small part in the Predators series-tying win.

Reach Jessica Bliss at 615-259-8253 and jbliss@tennessean.com. You can also find her on Twitter @jlbliss.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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