Because it IS odd.

I asked on Twitter:

And @burghbaby said:

Others chimed in agreeing.

So I’m not alone in thinking this is a weird question, right?

Would you call yourself a superstitious guy? The camera often catches you crossing yourself and praying on the sidelines.

Props to Troysus for pointing out that for those that believe in just about any religion, prayer is practically the OPPOSITE of superstition.

And props to Troysus for working both “antithesis” and “dichotomy” into one interview.

Smarty McYummyNomNomSmartPants.


  1. Bram R
    November 8, 2010 2:03 pm

    Well even among the religious, very frequent crossing and other rituals can be a sign of superstition on top of that. Particularly if he does it every time he crosses the 20 yard line, and also dances a jig thereafter.

    But it was a mildly odd question.

  2. Fester
    November 8, 2010 2:14 pm

    Not to get all Sarah Palin on here, but she asked it because she equates religion with superstition. Just like every liberal.

  3. mfj
    November 8, 2010 2:14 pm

    Patricia Sheridan once got Dick Gregory mixed up with Gregory Hines. And the copy desk at the P-G let it go by, allegedly because they like watching her make an ass of herself. So, not really Mensa material.

  4. Silica
    November 8, 2010 2:45 pm

    @Fester – I am definitely politically liberal, but I’m also religious (shock horror say it ain’t so!!!). So, at the *very* least, it’s “every liberal minus one.” ;)

    I think it’s a really odd question and, honestly, inappropriate. But he did an excellent job answering her.

  5. Fester
    November 8, 2010 2:54 pm

    @ Silica,

    I do not know you personally so this is more of a general comment. There is a difference between believing in a ‘God’ and being religious. Sheridan may believe in God but I doubt she is religious.

  6. dand
    November 8, 2010 2:55 pm

    I’ve heard the difference between religion and superstition described something like “if it’s your god, then it’s religion. If it’s someone else’s god, it’s superstition.”

    But seriously, isn’t being religious at least partly about believing in the supernatural, which is pretty much the definition of superstition?

  7. tw
    November 8, 2010 3:05 pm

    Well, I’m Orthodox and thus used to crossing myself and I don’t feel it is a superstitious thing. Now, when I won’t walk under a ladder…that’s my superstitious nature coming out. But crossing yourself isn’t something you feel compelled to do to ward off bad mojo (like the ladder thing). People usually cross themselves before/after praying…it’s that simple. If he’s saying a little prayer (even in his head) during the game then he would cross himself. It’s not like he thinks the cross sign will ward off tough football players like holding a cross up to a vampire (although that would be funny). I thought the question was odd…and a little offensive actually. If I found a person praying at a temple I wouldn’t think of asking them if they were superstitious b/c of that act.

    btw…Rocky used to cross himself a lot…maybe she should ask Sly that question. :P

  8. tw
    November 8, 2010 3:08 pm

    sorry…my smirk face turned into a giant smiley face…making me look like a dork…oh well.

  9. rickh
    November 8, 2010 3:09 pm

    A very strange question, but I’m surprised she even knew it was a cross gesture rather than a plus sign. “Do you like math? Why are you always making a plus sign after a tackle?”

  10. Angry Mongo
    November 8, 2010 3:15 pm

    Believing in something and expressing it, is having faith.

    Doing everything you can to keep from having bad things happen is superstition.

    No, I wouldn’t call Troysus superstitious. Yes, I would call it an odd question.

    I think that if someone were to call Troy Polamalu superstitious, for going “Spectacles-Testicles-Wallet-Watch” after every play, then they really don’t know him at all.

  11. Sheila
    November 8, 2010 3:33 pm

    Weird – its not like Major Leaque on the sidelines and they are offering dead chickens up before every game! Its a sign of the cross for crying out loud! It would be only slightly less nonsensical to equate not cutting his hair with being superstitious vs. praying or making sign of the cross.

  12. RedInDaBurgh
    November 8, 2010 3:44 pm

    Not strange at all. Everyone views religious actions that aren’t theirs as superstitious. Furthermore, if he does this before every play to ask God for strength or guidance, or after every play to give praise to God, than it’s not superstitious. If he does this because he feels he has to before or after every play, simply because he always does, than it is superstitious. Religious actions or rites can be superstitious depending on the intent. Why do we get so uptight and defensive whenever someone questions our religious beliefs? Ain’t nothing wrong with asking questions! It’s an opportunity to educate!

  13. Larry
    November 8, 2010 4:43 pm

    I agree that the “sign of the cross == superstition” thing is offensive. But, I also hear folks who are saying “my beliefs: religion; yours: superstition”, and understand the point they’re trying to make.

    Here’s the thing, though: she’s a reporter. this isn’t a conversation about what *she* thinks about his actions / beliefs; it’s one about *his* take on things. So, the appropriate question would seem to be “You make the sign of the cross often while on the field. Is this ritual an integral part of your spirituality, or just an on-the-field thing?”

    The reason why it’s offensive isn’t that she’s questioning his religous beliefs — it’s that, a priori, she assumes they’re superstitions.

  14. Butcher's Dog
    November 8, 2010 5:23 pm

    To spin on a tangent here, is anyone else wondering if the dead-chicken thing would help the Pens power play? Couldn’t hurt, right? And if it worked, we can only imagine what the shirts would look like in the Strip District about a week later!

  15. Cassie
    November 8, 2010 5:44 pm

    I’m with the Butcher.

  16. Sooska
    November 8, 2010 5:54 pm

    My Catholic husband, who also at one time played some football, claims that athletes make the sign of the cross as a prayer to ward off injury rather than a prayer for success or a win.

    Some people are superstitious as well as religious- many Italian Catholics such as my late MIL for instance. Some Protestants, like me, kind of look at it and think it is somewhat all jumbled together since my religious upbringing included no outward signs of prayer such as crossing oneself.

    To blast Patricia Sheridan in a political way is uncalled for.

  17. Fester
    November 8, 2010 7:27 pm

    @ Sooska

    By the way Sheridan asked the question, you can tell what Sheridan thinks of religion.

    Troy is religious, nothing superstitious about what he believes.

  18. Maybe Next Time
    November 8, 2010 8:28 pm

    @mfj (#3) Speaking of P Sheridan and the PG copy desk, did anyone else notice that the world’s best known brand, for which Troysus did a commercial, was spelled “Coke-a-Cola”?! Hilarious.

  19. Jen
    November 8, 2010 9:03 pm

    @ Sheila,

    Actually, in Major League the character Cerrano was performing religious rituals while praying to his gods. If one (Christian prayer) isn’t superstition than the other (Voodoo prayer) isn’t either.

  20. da
    November 8, 2010 9:15 pm

    Spare me the pious gnashing of the teeth over this. The reporter asked a few questions aimed at Troy’s medley of religious experiences before meeting his wife and becoming Greek Orthodox. Is this repetitive motion, taking place during a sporting event, religious in nature or superstitious? It’s a benign question – not a godless liberal plot against religion.

  21. gunnlino
    November 10, 2010 1:22 am

    Geez @ Da; Try some de-cafe !

  22. calmdahn
    November 12, 2010 11:52 am

    I couldn’t have said it better than “da” did above. Even if it is religious in nature, the extreme he takes it to could be considered superstitious. It isn’t an odd question.

    (never mind the fact that all religion is by definition superstitious, that is “a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge”)