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.