October 28, 2007

I Am the One in Five

I didn’t realize I was superstitious until the Kentucky game. And I didn’t realize the role of superstition in my life until the Auburn game.

I walk under ladders. I step on cracks. I curse the gods. I don’t eat black-eyed peas and cabbage on New Year’s Day.

I do or don’t do all these things to prove a point. Superstitions are for the superstitious. Not for me. And if the universe somehow does punish you or reward you for your adherence to superstitious ritual, then I like succeeding with the universe against me. And what better excuse for the occasional failure than “I was battling the universe. What do you expect?”

Though I am okay with what the Fates might have planned for me, I realized a couple weeks ago that I am not okay with my actions stepping on the happiness of others.

Before this year’s LSU/Kentucky game, I wore my LSU 2005 Championship t-shirt for every game. I didn’t really do it for superstition. It’s the only LSU shirt I have that fits me.

But, the day of the game, I had some friends over. We started the partying early, and when the evening game started, I just wore whatever I had been wearing all day. And LSU lost.

I needed an explanation for what happened. Why? Why Kentucky? LSU played good enough to win. How could they lose? What was different?

The shirt. I didn’t have the shirt on. My choice of apparel doomed my team.

Did it really? Doesn’t matter. Superstition exists because it served a purpose at some point in humanity’s social and biological evolution. Who am I to deny that which made me human?

So, the Auburn game comes along – another evening game. It is also election day, and, as a news person, I have to work. Guess what: I forget to wear the t-shirt again.

Before the game, I call my wife from work and tell her that she or my son – somebody – must wear the t-shirt. I or my family can not be blamed for destroying LSU’s championship hopes.

Confident that the Fates will be satisfied with my game day audible, I continue about my work. My job is to coordinate three live shots at the candidates’ headquarters by phone. I stay on the phone the entire night. There’s three problems with that:

1) I can’t hear. My right ear is worse than my left ear, which isn’t that great. And I really can’t hear on the phone, especially with all the background noise at the candidates’ headquarters, including some very loud congos at one of them. This resulted in quite a few exchanges like this: “What? Say it again. I can’t hear you. Huh? Nevermind.”

2) I pace around when I am on the phone. This is not good when using a phone with a cord. Fortunately, nothing expensive got knocked over.

3) One of the monitors in the control room was set to the LSU game. I could see them losing, which increased both my difficulty in hearing the live shots due to the distraction and increased my pacing due to the anxiety. (An aside: Patrick Swayze’s Roadhouse was on another monitor and a lot of us found ourselves watching it. Strange.)

LSU was losing. I didn’t understand. My wife was wearing the t-shirt. Universe, what more do you want?

I later learned that my wife forgot to put on the t-shirt, until the fourth quarter. She told me that she put the shirt on, and LSU then score a touchdown to go ahead. They fell behind briefly, and then the crazy touchdown pass with one second left. And the shirt was on.

A few days after, I read about this poll that says one in five sports fans have some superstitious ritual they perform for their team to win. While I am not superstitious in general, I am now the one in five. Until it doesn’t work anymore.

Also, since I can’t decide on a color scheme for my blog, I will travel the superstitious route and go with my team-of-the-day’s colors. Go Saints.


Sophmom said...

When it doesn't work anymore, it will likely evolve into a new superstition, ie., what *did* work.

I'm rife with varied sports superstitions, usually in relation to coaching baseball. In 1991 when my boys were little and the Braves were making their late & post season run, my boys and I would gather in the kitchen ('cause I was usually cooking dinner) prior to each game and, with the radio broadcast (they don't show it on tv 'cept in post season) we would sing the national anthem prior to the game. As it would happen, we noticed, ahem, that when we didn't do this, they lost. There was much singing going on for a long time, and (I think) my boys got a novel and fond childhood memory out of it.

Seems to me sports superstitions are pretty harmless and full of charm. JMHO.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

I can't even begin to describe the amount of mojo in my life on Fridays and Saturdays in the fall. I really cannot, because the minute I did, you would all think I was batcrap crazy. I fear writing about it publicly, and when spoken of, it can only be done at the level of revered monks whispering as not to offend higher powers. It all involves red and black clothing, several small trinkets, where I watch the games, how I watch the games and the list only goes on and on and on.