Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I went to a hockey game once with a fellow who was a serious fan. We got to our level in the stadium and walked toward our section. Before reaching our area he put up his hand as if to say "wait a minute" and proceeded to walk into the exit side of the men's room.

 He was walking against the flow of traffic of course, but he went in that way regardless. I followed him and saw that he went to the sinks, touched the hot and cold faucets once, and then walked backwards out of the same exit that he had walked into frontwards. I looked at him puzzled. He explained, "Just a little something I do."

 Sports fans and participants are notorious for their superstitions. I have not polled the faithful but I would be a winner of any sum I wagered, if I bet that there are dozens if not hundreds of Boston Celtic fans who went to work today in a lucky shirt, or tie, or dress, or even some undergarment, in an attempt to give the Celtics some good vibes tonight in their pivotal fifth game of the series. And there are an equal number who will not dare to watch the game (a) with Charlie (b) in Lou's sports bar or, for example (c) while eating a blt because the last time they watched the game with Charlie, at Lou's, while eating a blt, the Celtics lost in overtime.

 Strange thing, superstition--and I am not above it. Far from it. I can find myself in a position in a chair which seems to bring good luck and not want to move a muscle while the good fortune continues. I might suspect that a good result will come of a tennis match if some unrelated activity, say juggling for five minutes without dropping the ball, is a success. Once in an attempt to get a read on what was real or a desired end, I went to the foul line and determined that if I could hit 8 out of 10 foul shots, the desired end was real. When I hit thirteen straight I knew for a fact that all was good in the universe.

 I am well within what is the normal range among superstitious sorts. Tonight when the Heat players go to the foul line in Miami, fans in Boston 1500 miles away will wiggle their fingers this way or that to affect a shot. If an announcer claims that a Boston player has a good foul shot, fans will scream at the broadcaster sure that the comment has jinxed the shooter. I don't know this for a fact, but I will guess that at least one of the players has not washed his headband in order to avert losing the something in the wash that permitted the overtime victory on Sunday. Some people will, and I do not exaggerate, do some extra good deeds today feeling as if there might be some quid pro quo from the almighty if the game is tight down the stretch.

Of course some players and fans will pray in order to get the same results. I find this a bit sacreligious since to pray for victory is to implicitly pray for someone else's defeat. I don't think if you are a believer you want to pray for someone's sadness. Seems to be contrary to any religious foundation. Standing on only your right foot while eating popcorn with only your left hand is far more appropriate.

 Go Celtics. And I trust no fans will give the team the whammy inadvertently.

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