Rituals In George Gmelch's Baseball Magic

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Societies each differ in the types of religious practices they have, there is a variation in how people relate with the supernatural. Many of the interactions people relate to with each other are highly ritualized. Rituals are recurring sets of behaviors that happen in the same patterns every time they take place. Almost all rituals do not have empirical connection between the means of them and the desired end; therefore, rituals are known as irrational acts. Rituals have experienced a retreat from the leading positions of anthropological thoughts. In the article “Baseball Magic,” by George Gmelch, he describes different rituals, taboos, and fetishes baseball players preform before a game or practice. Although ritual’s role in anthropology does not grant it permanent immunity, its recent departure also should not be interpreted as proof of irrelevance. Rituals are perhaps a universal feature of human social existence for as long as society has been around. There is no society without language or exchange, just like there is no society without rituals. While the word ritual commonly brings images of primitive work, others…show more content…
The word taboo comes from a Polynesian term, meaning forbidden. It is believed that if taboos are violated, they will bring supernatural punishment. Players believe that breaking a taboo, leads to unwanted consequences or bad luck. Taboos usually grow out of exceptionally poor performances, which players, in search of a reason, attribute to a particular behavior. For example, Gmelch states, “during my first season of pro ball I ate pancakes before a game in which I struck out three times. A few weeks later I had another terrible game, again after eating pancakes. The result was a pancake taboo: I never again ate pancakes during the season” (3). While most taboos are particular, there are a few that all sports players hold which do not develop from personal experience or
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