I’m listening to tonight’s Pens game on AM radio. I can’t really complain; we are without Versus — and the rest of the cable company’s digital package — by choice, and I still love listening to Mike Lange call these games.
There was a discussion on Twitter during Sunday’s game that started with Woy saying he hadn’t actually seen a goal this series; once the notion of superstition was introduced that eventually turned into a decree that people with a particular first name — which happened to be my first name — weren’t allowed to watch the Penguins on TV through the rest of the playoffs.
Someone eventually gave us a break, but it was an interesting discussion about superstition and sports. A couple of my other Twitter friends mentioned that they don’t have any Penguins gear to wear for playoff games — others suggested that adding some to the wardrobe at this juncture might upset the mojo.
I try to resist allowing too much superstition into my sports consumption — mostly because if I gave in completely, I’d make myself and everyone around me utterly nuts.
I have some. I won’t be allowed to attend an Ohio State football game without wearing shorts for the rest of my days, thanks to the fact that I wore them to the 2002 Michigan game, despite 25-degree temperatures when we showed up in the parking lot to start tailgating. Our tailgating group also started a group shot — usually of Irish whiskey — before we head inside for every game; I now get uncomfortable if we don’t do one even before the start of games we’re watching on TV.
But superstitions based on whether you’re watching on TV or not? Rubbish.
Unless it’s the 1989 game Ohio State played at Minnesota, a game I watched at my parents’ house in Columbus. The first half was one of the most pathetic displays of “football” I’ve ever seen, and Ohio State trailed 31-0 just a few minutes before halftime. I was disgusted, and walked out of the family room and into the kitchen to stand and glare at the little TV on the counter.
And then we scored and converted a two-point conversion.
We relaxed a little bit at halftime, mostly to get accustomed to the fact that we were going to get waxed. When the game resumed, I stayed in the kitchen, leaning on the counter in front of the little TV. Minnesota scored a field goal on its opening possession, but then things changed. We kept scoring. Converting two-point tries. Stopping Minnesota again and again. And only when we won 41-37 did I look back at the rest of my family — and the big TV — in the family room.
Sports hinging on whether or not you’re watching — or which TV you’re watching on? That’s crazy — right?
(Flickr photo: “Live transmission,” by bricolage.108)