We’ve got a pretty big game to be played in Columbus, Ohio today. On this rainy Saturday, the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines line up again for the best rivalry game in all of sports.
Normally I would set up the DVR function on our TV and record this year’s version of The Game. I’m not going to do so this year, however, because every time I have recorded the Buckeyes they’ve played horribly. On the other hand, when I haven’t tried to record them, they’ve played well. Given that track record, the proper course of conduct is clear.
It’s embarrassing to admit it, but I’m a firm believer in jinxes. Of course, it’s ludicrously far-fetched to think that the activities of an old guy far away from Ohio Stadium could possibly have an impact on a football game — but then we’ve all heard of the butterfly effect. Maybe the mere act of setting up a recording disturbs the ether and karma just enough to affect how Ohio State plays. Who knows how these things work? I just know I’m not going to take a chance on upsetting the mystic balance and feeling like I’m responsible for another less-than-stellar performance. If not recording The Game somehow gives Ohio State a minute advantage, that’s good enough for me.
I’m guessing I’m not alone in this sentiment. All across Buckeye Nation, fans of the Scarlet and Gray are donning lucky apparel and avoiding activities that seem to be somehow associated with failure. Of course, fans of TTUN are no doubt doing the same thing, and fervently hoping that their individual activities will produce a win. With two devoted fan bases each working to promote maximum luck and good fortune and avoid the dreaded jinx, who knows how the balance will tip?
Either way, there’s no recording of the game today. Go Bucks!
Typically, I don’t play state lotteries. The odds are astronomical.
The only exception is when the potential winnings reach the $100 million-plus range, and I happen to be passing through some small town in a remote area at the time. My reasoning is that the winning tickets always tend be purchased from a gas station in East Bejesus, so my approach at least gives me a reasonable chance of getting the lucky numbers.
Of course, I’ve never won the handful of times I’ve tried this technique.
Tonight the Cleveland Indians start a huge four-game series against the Detroit Tigers. It comes at a crucial point in the season, with the Tribe three games behind the Tigers and both teams playing well. Detroit has won 12 of its last 13, and the Indians have won 10 of their last 11 games.
Unfortunately, this year the Tigers have beaten the snot out of the Tribe. They’ve won 9 of 12, and in many of those games the outcome wasn’t close.
As a Cleveland fan, I’ve given careful thought to how I personally, through my own actions, can cause ripples in the karma and help the Tribe win. Like every true fan, I know that jinxes, and reverse jinxes, and lucky shirts, and rally caps really do make a difference. The fickle sports gods sense these kinds of things and adjust results accordingly. A routine grounder to short might hit a pebble and ricochet past the fielder to bring home a key run. A fine bunt might take an abrupt left turn and go foul. A sudden gust of wind might keep a game-winning homer in the ballpark. In such ways do the gods dictate the outcome, after carefully studying every lucky charm, evil spell, confident prediction, and other instance of fan behavior and adjusting the cosmic scales accordingly.
I’ve refrained from writing about the Tigers and the Tribe because I didn’t want to jinx the Cleveland nine. Obviously, that didn’t work. So I’m going with the George Costanza opposite approach. I’m writing this post about this crucial series to try to change the fates, and tonight I’ll watch the game even though that usually means bad luck will befall the Indians. What kind of fan would I be if I didn’t try something to help bring home a victory?
ETA: My carefully laid plans obviously failed to account for the Curse of Chris Perez. After the Tribe took a 2-0 lead into the top of the ninth, their unpredictable closer got bombed for four runs and the Indians lost, 4-2. The gods are unkind, indeed.