Playoff Beards And My Completely Illogical Superstitions

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I’m not superstitious, I’m just a little stitious. With that being said, I still can’t help but to think back on certain moments of glory and misery experienced because of my favorite sports teams performances and try to ensure they don’t happen again. While I am a ten-year veteran of Fantasy Football and an All-Star arm-chair quarterback, I have never actually suited up for a professional team (not counting teenage Halloween costumes). Despite this fact, I still feel a little responsible for the outcome of many plays, some individual games, and even a few key playoff series.

I don’t know where the desire to have a sports-related routine comes from, but they date back to the earliest of my memories. Sports superstitions come in many forms, from Sammy Sosa making the sign of the cross and kissing the sky to hockey playoff beards. Whatever makes the players comfortable, or creates camaraderie, I get. But what is puzzling is why I feel the need to participate, or create my own routines or superstitions to help improve their chances.

The Madden Curse. The Sports Illustrated Curse. Even the Ciara curse (Looking at you, Russell Wilson). These can be debated as many athletes and teams have been able to escape their wrath. Even if they are real, I can’t do anything about them. But when I feel responsible for my team’s demise because of where I sat, or what I wore, it’s an unrivaled feeling of regret and sadness.

Let me just put it this way, Marcus Mariota’s week 1 performance was no fluke. During week 1, I could have been found on the right couch cushion sporting my XXL Steve McNair jersey (I was a fat kid), eating a frozen pizza and washing it down with an Abita party pack. Boom. 4 touchdowns in his rookie debut. Titans win. Week 2 was a different story. I was in Chicago visiting family and had to watch Sunday ticket on my ipad. No jersey. No couch. No win. Coincidence? Maybe. I will be at home on the couch this week for all you Mariota fantasy owners. Just FYI.

Let’s transition to baseball. I’m a huge Cardinals fan. I was born there so back off the bandwagon talk. I’ve been lucky enough to see them win the World Series. Twice. I’ve also been subject to the misery of watching them lose the Series. Twice (Damn Red Sox). In 2006, I cracked open a fresh Busch beer every inning from the comfort of my now condemned fraternity house couch, and they won in five games. On the other hand in 2013, I was fully responsible for the loss. I was inconsistent in viewing locations due to travel, sporadic with my jersey use and all over the place with beverage and food choices.

A rational mind says these things don’t matter in the slightest. However, I can’t shake the gut-wrenching feeling I have when I look back and feel otherwise. Like I could have done something different to help my team win. Maybe my superstitions are a way for me to feel like part of the team, or a way for me to be an active participant from thousands of miles away through a television. But for the past few years, I feel as though I have just gone through the motions and settled for just tuning in, but I am making a promise this year to step up my game and create a routine. And if it works, stick to it. And if not, at least I have three hours of entertainment, enjoyment and a break from the grind. And that’s what sports are for anyway. Here’s to the lucky couch and meaningful beers.

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The Great Hambino

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