Sunday, February 28, 2010

lucky seat

In order for my university, the Northeastern University Huskies, to win the Colonial Athletic Association regular season championship, two things had to happen yesterday. The first was that Northeastern would have to defeat George Mason University at GMU's gym. The second was that Old Dominion University would have to lose to Virginia Commonwealth. If ODU were to win the game, then ODU would be the conference champs.

Having followed the fortunes of my employer's squad all season, I was excited about the chances for the team's first ever championship. Our team's game was to be played at noon. The ODU/VCU game at 4. Since our game was on television, and because I wanted a workout yesterday, I decided to purge the tensions and disappointments of the week on the elliptical machine at my health club from noon to two. Since each elliptical contraption is equipped with a television, I could simultaneously purge the tension, burn the suet, and watch Northeastern play. As it so happens, an alumnus of the university was also in the gym while I was there. He was on a treadmill and we both gave a yelp and nearly fell off our machines when Matt Janning, a player for NU, buried a three from well behind the three point line to tie the game in the waning seconds. When Chaisson Allen hit free throws with .5 seconds remaining to win the contest, the two of us added more perspiration to our soaked tee shirts as we rejoiced.

At 4 oclock I headed for the Shopper's Cafe to watch the VCU game. I had a great spot. Few people were at the establishment yesterday. I asked the proprietor to put the game on a particular set, parked myself in front of the screen, enjoyed something called an Italian burger (a composition that was delicious but no doubt forced the fellows who toil in my gut to work overtime in order to digest the fare). It looked like VCU would win the game and make NU the champions. Then the unthinkable occurred. A waiter came by and asked for a small favor.

"Listen, I'd like to put these two tables together for this party of 8 behind you). Can you take your stuff to another table, any one you want, and we'll put the game on a screen for you."

How to tell this apparently ignorant fellow, that I was sitting in a lucky seat, and certainly watching a tv screen that had been charmed. How to explain that if I were to move my seat, I might jinx the university and diminish the team's seed in the upcoming CAA tournament. This seat was hot. VCU was ahead. If I move, who knew what would happen.

But gee, I am a college professor. My credit card reads, "Dr. Alan Zaremba". Can I really explain to a fellow that I, a college professor, don't want to move a few feet, because I am sitting in a lucky spot?

"No problem" I say, knowing full well, I was jarring the karma that had been facilitating the victory. "No need to change the screen" I added hastily, "I'll just move back here." It was bad enough that I was relinquishing the lucky seat, but no double whammy would I allow, by having him move the game to another tv set.

So, I go back to another table. VCU is ahead by two with less than a minute to go. Immediately, an ODU player is fouled. He can tie the game up with two shots. He misses both. HA! What whammy. There is no whammy!

Except ODU gets the rebound and they dink around with the ball until there is almost no time left on the shot clock, when a player heaves the ball up and hits a three. Down by one.

VCU races up court to take a shot to go ahead. And they lose the ball. (Like they might have lost the ball if I was sitting in my lucky seat). ODU takes the ball dribbles the length of the court and takes an ill advised circus layup shot. That goes in. Now, sitting in this jinxed seat, ODU is up by three.

I almost did not bother to watch VCU's last second attempt to tie the game.What would be the point from where I was sitting, 750 miles away from the shooter. The ball clanked away.

As I paid my bill and walked away, someone from the table of 8 waved and thanked me. "We appreciate it" he said. Guy was probably an ODU alum.

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