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Skyline student and baseball player Michael Valdes may seem like the average every day student roaming the campus, but what separates him from other students and athletes alike? Perhaps it’s his beard, but more so, his firm belief in the play-off beard.
It’s no secret that fashion is a fickle game: as soon as a trend becomes truly popular and is adopted by Beyonce or the Kardashians, it holds little interest for the style set. However, this has not been the case for “the beard.”
The past couple of years, we have witnessed the evolution of “the beard” and it seems as though the more time passes, the trendier it has become, evolving into something none other than a phenomenon. People all around the world have created different movements and styles pertaining to the beard, and many have gone viral.
Anything from annual beard competitions held world wide-where men of all ages compete to be crowned champions of having the bushiest masterpiece- to the dollar beard club-a sensation that has taken over Instagram with more than 370,000 followers, a club offering affordable beard grooming products to men. One of the most popular trends that has come out of this fascination with beards however, is something called the playoff beard-a sports superstition used by athletes such as Valdes, that’s said to bring luck during games.
“I believe in the play-off beard,” Valdes said. “I believe it builds team comradery, I’ve seen many teams win games and make play-offs and its usually the beard that helps bring luck.”
According to The Huffington Post, the origins of the playoff beard can be traced back to the 1980’s and the New York Islander dynasty. From 1980-1983 the Islanders won four straight Stanley Cup titles and did it while sporting some beards. It then had a hiatus, but made a strong comeback in 2007 and made its way to baseball in 2009.
“The play-off beard originated in hockey and made its way to baseball,” said Skyline men’s baseball head coach Dino Nomicos. “Baseball has taken over it, and made it really popular. Baseball players are very superstitious and so you see this phenomenon take over the MLB and even with some of our guys at Skyline.”
Indeed, Skyline has seen this trend take over the athletic department and make its way even to the coaches. Greg Gonzales, assistant coach with the Skyline men’s baseball team, sports one of these thick, fully grown beards for himself. He is even a part of the dollar beard club on Instagram and claims to be a strong believer in ‘the beard.’
“The play-off beard has become big in baseball especially during October, ever since the giants made it popular in 2010,” Greg Gonzalez said. “I think that anything that you believe in gives you an advantage and it’s something you’ve got to roll with.”
The play-off beard has been taken to heart by many skyline athletes, including RJ Hansen, who is yet another example of someone who vows by the beard.
“The power of the beard is powerful,” Hansen said. “It brings luck and helps teams win games. I’ve seen it happen to me personally last year, I wore a beard all season and we made the play-offs and won.”
The trend is starting to gain more and more popularity with athletes not only in professional sports, but clearly within the Skyline athletic community. Skyline student and athlete Armando Farretto says he has seen the play-off beard take affect in his life and is hoping to continue seeing it bring him and his teammates luck throughout the season.
“ I have tried the play-off beard a couple of times and have seen its positive affects throughout games and seasons,” Farretto said. “Our team is currently testing it out for this season, we are very superstitious and are believing for the beard to bring us luck.”