Yesterday I asked my buddy which team he considers his absolute "favorite" out of the "Big 4" sports (hockey, football, basketball, baseball). After thinking about it, he gave me his initial answer. I then told him about what I'm going to tell you, and then my buddy suddenly changed his answer to the L.A. Kings. What caused this reversal? Superstition and the ridiculous belief that ANYTHING we do as fans (aside from pulling a DeNiro in The Fan) has an effect on the outcome of a sports game.
Granted, I will accept the following arguments which thus form the exception to the above belief:
- Seattle Seahawks home games and the incredible number of false starts for the visiting teams
- Boise State's atrocious blue field and the fact that their home jerseys match the color of that "grass"
- UCSB Basketball games at The Thunderdome, where visiting teams are forced to endure insults from fans that are positioned right behind the bench, as well as forced to dodge flying tortillas
Other than those three scenarios (and to be honest the third one really isn't that big of a deal ever since UCSB lost their TV deal back in the day because of the flying tortillas and subsequent technical fouls assessed on our team), whether you cheer loudly at games and hurl insults at opposing players will generally have no outcome on the final score. Yet we still believe it does.
Similarly, whether I put on my left skate before my right skate before playing a hockey game should have absolutely no effect on the final score. But the truth is that I follow the exact same routine putting on my goalie pads as I've done for the past 16 years. Why? Because I'm extremely superstitious and deep down I know that if I don't follow that exact routine, I'll get shelled for a ton of goals and lose the game.
I am now faced with the following dilemma. On the one hand, the Kings are my favorite team out of the four major sports here in the US. By far. Not even close. I would love nothing more than the personally witness the Kings win tonight's game, forcing a Game 7 which would lead to an inevitable Sharks collapse. On the other hand, I'm currently 0-2 this playoff series while watching the Kings in person. In fact, I'm 0-3 if you factor in watching the Kings with my eyes. (I was at a bar with friends watching Game 1.) For Games 2 and 5, I had commitments which kept me from watching those games - and so I risked the wife's fury and continuously checked the progress of the games via ESPN mobile and Twitter.
My record doing this? 2-0.
Now, do I go to tonight's game? Do I stay at home and watch the game on TV? Do I only follow the game via ESPN mobile and Twitter?
My brain is thinking Option 3, but superstition might blow back in my face because I'm not "forced" into checking the score via ESPN mobile and Twitter. Plus I'm airing this out to the general public, something that I almost never do with my superstitions.
This is what caused my buddy to change his answer. He said out of all of the teams he loves, he'll adhere to his superstitious ways only for Kings games. Whether it's wearing the exact same jersey to all the games, ordering the exact same drinks from the bar, doing the exact same celebration when they score - whatever it takes. That, he said, is how he knows the Kings are his favorite sports team.
Me? Right now I'm thinking of watching the game at the concession area of the Toyota Sports Center seeing as how I have my first game of the season right after the Kings game. I've had extremely good luck watching games there. (Cough cough, Lakers-Celtics, Game 7...)
Much love till my next post.