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The Art of Superstition in Sports

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Athletes aren’t the only ones who are superstitious. Sportmentary does crazy things while watching his favorite team. If I’m doing something and my team scores or makes a good play, I will continue to do that same thing all game. My wife thinks I’m nuts and she has to put up with my antics. I call it the art of superstition in my sports viewing

One of the more memorable superstitious moments in my sporting life came during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. I had just met my wife a few months earlier and she hadn’t been introduced to my crazy sports viewing.

Team Canada hadn’t won a gold medal in decades and with Wayne Gretzky managing the team, it was the first time in my life that I felt the team had a legitimate chance of winning the gold. For Canadians, it’s the hockey event that is the most important part of the Olympics.

During the Quarterfinal game, I had assumed a position in front of my friend’s TV set. My feet were in a parallel position, two feet apart. I stood towards the left side of my friend’s TV set, about four feet from the screen. Canada defeated Finland 2-1 and my standing position would have to continue until the final whistle of the tournament.

From that moment on, I had to stand in the same position. My friend, who doesn’t believe in my superstitions, wouldn’t let me leave that position. I could only take breaks during a stoppage of play or during intermissions.

It’s actually painful standing in the same position for three hours. The funny thing is that I was so intense, standing in front of the TV, that my friend’s carpet had my footprints engraved in it. I was also screaming like a madman, so that my friend’s neighbors could hear me.

Team Canada went on to win the gold medal. I cried like a baby after it clinched gold. It was awesome and better yet, my wife still married me.

My wife wasn’t immune to further craziness. If my Minnesota Vikings, Winnipeg Jets, or Team Canada is playing, everyone in the house has to stay where they are if my team is winning. Last week, I had my feet crossed in a certain position while watching a Jets game. Once my team scored, I had to sit in that position during the whole game. The Jets won the game. Put that in the win column for the art of superstition.

My wife tried to tell me that I’m crazy and that I have no control over the outcome of the game. I know deep down she’s right but it’s not about logic. My teams have won games due to my superstitions, or so I think.

She tries to point out that my art of superstition is a failure when my teams lose. I tell her that the reason my team lost is that I didn’t cross my feet correctly or I stood in the wrong spot or I didn’t clench my fist the way I did when my team was on a roll.

I’m an intense sports fan and I think my superstitions will always control how I watch the games. When my teams win, I will take the credit, knowing that I did everything right. I will also feel confident that my fellow fans did as well. When things take a turn for the worse, I will blame the fact that I did something a little differently that caused my team to fall apart.

How many championships have my teams won? Has the art of superstition helped my teams to be successful? My art of superstition is batting a doughnut on those accounts, but Team Canada has won two gold medals in the past three Winter Olympics and that’s all that really matters. In my book, that means the art of superstition has been extremely successful.

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  • Dr. J, that’s a good point.

  • Maybe so. Don’t schedule a major game on Friday the 13th.

  • Vic, good to see that you’re on my side with this. I have the same problem as you with my Vikings, Twins and wild.

  • I think you’re on to something here, Sport. I certainly won’t wear certain things on game day or must sit in the same chair if they won the week before. Unfortunately, most of what I do doesn’t help the Mets and the Jets, but something is clicking this year for the Knicks – so I’ll keep wearing that same shirt as I watch the game.