George Gmelch’s piece Baseball magic is a traditional example of a piece that makes you reassess what you believed you understood. I would have never ever linked a relationship between religion and the practices that baseball teams or individuals have on an everyday basis. It has actually now become seemingly clear that these practices, whether it be eating in a specific spot every day, or going to church consistently every Sunday, have significant effects on our daily lives. Gmelch who provides his case with American baseball players, shows the various taboos and fetishes that these gamers have and they believe that these routines are connected to their winning or losing a game.
The most alarming element is that these expert gamers forget or rather neglect the reality that they have true abilities and skill, which is how they got onto the group in the first location. They idolize valued ownerships that they think offer them luck and the absence of these rituals or failure of these rituals does not stop them, but simply makes them develop new ones to fit their requirements.
It is as if their skills got them into the sport, but their rituals keep them playing. In a way these players are not too far from me in my everyday life. If I studied in a particular way and earned good grades, it is more likely that I will continue this same way of studying until it fails and then I would create another one to fit my needs.
Rituals seem to be a common trend with the human species, it is how we make sense of the unknown. Throughout Gmelch’s ethnography the most common trend that these players had was that they were trying to have control over what they deemed uncontrollable.
These rituals gave them stability and hope that they would have some effects over reality and even if their rituals were not directly related with winning or losing the game, the fact that they might be able to control the outcome of the game was still thrilling. Overall, we all part take in rituals on a daily basis, whether it be brushing our top teeth before the bottom, touching the wall before you leave your room, or never leaving the house without checking the stove. All these things help us cope with the day to day uncertainties of life. It is not the power of the rituals that make us satisfied, but the power we give to the rituals that make us feel like we are in control and are masters of uncertainty.