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Don't Laugh, You're Probably Just As Superstitious Too

It just occurred to me that I may have to stop writing stuff for this site for another week or two.

It's because I am extremely superstitious when it comes to sports (don’t laugh, you know you are too). Around mid-April, the Caps were down 2-0 in the first round of the playoffs, every time I mentioned them something bad happened to them, and I stopped. They rebounded, won the series with Columbus, then Pittsburgh, then Tampa Bay.

So Friday, believing the curse was over, I started posting regularly again.

Then the Caps lost Monday night.

I realize the actions of one old man in Ashburn Farm should not have any effect on the play of a dozen or more professional athletes from all over the world who are doing battle 2,000 miles away. But sports fans are not always given to rational thought.

And I’m not alone in this regard.

I, for example, know whether my favorite team won or lost when I was wearing just about every shirt or jersey I own. If I eat a particular meal and one of my teams has a big win, I eat the same meal before the next big game. If I get up and go in the kitchen for a particular soft drink or snack and I come back and my team has hit a home run, scored a touchdown, gotten a goal, etc….I go back and get another when that teams needs a big play.

I have one friend (his name is Tim) that would not watch any of the Caps playoff games through the first three rounds because he was aware every time he watched, they’d lose. He’d even go on Twitter and tell everyone “you’re welcome” after every victory. (Note to self, he must have watched Monday. Need to call Tim and tell him to stop).

There are people on Twitter who will say they just walked upstairs from the basement, noticed a lot of good things had happened to a Washington sports team, and then felt obligated to go back down in the basement when that team started playing poorly. If either of my dogs wanders into my study and my team makes a big play, they get to stay and are rewarded with treats (they seem to sense the old man has food somewhere nearby when a game is on). If something bad happens, they are coarsely told to leave, and they wander out with a look on their face as if to say “what did I do?”

What’s really disappointing is when you have an item of sport memorabilia that you really love, and it just won’t bring any luck. I was online once many years ago and came across a pair of Nike running shoes that were being discontinued in the maroon and orange colors of Virginia Tech. As they were a closeout, I bought the last two pairs they had, knowing you probably wouldn’t be able to get them any more.

They arrived right before Thanksgiving in 2005, and I had them on a week later when Virginia Tech played Florida State in the ACC football championship game. Florida State wasn’t all that good, the Hokies were favored, but it didn’t matter. The Seminoles won on a Saturday night 27-22.

The next day the basketball team played Duke in Durham, and I decided to give the shoes another shot. I had them on and they seemed to be working as the Hokies led the entire game, including a 1-point lead with seconds left. Then Sean Dockey heaved in a halfcourt shot with 1 second left to win the game for Duke. The shoes were banned to the closet.

I used them as walking shoes, but never wore them to Virginia Tech games. Eventually they wore out, and in January of 2012, I was preparing to fly to New Orleans to see the Hokies play Michigan in the Sugar Bowl. The other pair were still in a box, never opened, in the closet. Maybe, I thought, it was just those other shoes. This pair, I hoped, would be the one that would bring the Hokies luck.

So I wore them to the Superdome, and sure enough, Danny Coale caught the winning touchdown pass right in front of me; the curse, I thought, was over on the shoes. But it wasn’t, as the official overruled the play, the Hokies lost, and I got stuck sitting next to a Michigan fan on the flight home who wouldn’t shut up about every positive thing the Wolverines have ever done on a football field since the beginning of time.

Those shoes haven’t made it to a Virginia Tech game since.

So this morning, I’m studying the won-loss records of my Caps gear, trying to remember what was for dinner before Game 7 of the Tampa Bay series, and making sure tonight that I’m sitting in the same chair, the same way, as when the Caps last won. All the while thinking…            

…that all of you are doing the exact same thing ⯑  



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Sunday, 29 January 2023

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