"Superstition is foolish, childish, primitive and irrational -- but how much does it cost you to knock on wood?" - Judith Viorst
Superstition is a beast familiar to many sports fans, especially hockey fans. It is only a human. We wager our hopes and dreams (and our summer happiness) on occasionally random bounces of an oddly-shaped projectile. It is only natural that we would convince ourselves that we have some control. The tools we use to establish that illusion of influence are our superstitions - whether they be innocent, interesting, annoying, or downright insane.
Now, lumped on top of my somewhat standard set of regular season superstitions and hockey related idiosyncrasies, I carry around an astounding burden of spring-scented senility. It's late April, It's the Playoffs, and I'm driving myself absolutely insane.
During the first 82 games, I keep it simple. I've established an easy regular season rulebook that I am quite comfortable following. Keep in mind these rules are only in effect while watching the game (often on tape delay after work, which my family would argue renders my impact on the game nil. They find it hard to believe that I can affect the game while watching on TV at all, and on delay? It's already happened, how could I change it? Well I can, damn it.) That was a long aside. Without further ado, my list of regular season game-viewing rules:
- If the Sharks are playing well, don't mention it.
- Never go to the Bathroom immediately proceeding a PP or PK. (3 Shorties against the Hawks can attest to this.)
- During a shootout, say "You've got this Nabby" before every opposition attempt, and "C'mon [nickname]" before every Sharks attempt.
- Do not text or talk on the phone while the clock is running. If I'm not devoting my full attention, the Sharks surely won't be.
Nice and simple, easy to follow. I'm sure everyone reading this has their own short list here as well. It makes sense - we have all had times where we do something during the game and something happens on the ice. How could they not be connected? I still firmly believe that Buffalo's goal with seconds remaining during last season was the result of reading a text from my girlfriend. Needless to say, the deep-seeded resentment I foster as a result has driven a serious wedge into our relationship.
This all seems very well and good. However misguided, these innocuous superstitions are almost fun. They make watching the game more fun, and most importantly, make me feel connected to this team I live and die with (emotionally).
Now that the Playoffs are here, I've got an entire New Testament of Commandments. I actually carved them into a stone tablet and kiss it every morning. All joking aside, I am driving myself completely fucking insane. If I had longer hair I would have pulled it out already. Watching these playoff games, my palms get sweaty before the puck drops. My heart literally feels heavy the entire game. My left arm goes numb, I taste pennies, and I slip into sweet serenity. It is a cloudy place where Rob Blake has wings (they're white), and he's drinking a delectable cocktail of the blood of the villains of playoffs past and present from Lord Stanley's magnificent chalice. But this Cup is different. It's ten feet tall with rings cut deep with the names of every Sharks player ever. As you can tell, I've gone off the deep end.
Here's my insanity-packed and ever-growing list of playoff superstitions:
- Of course, all regular season rules still apply.
- I must hold my beer in my left hand.
- When watching online, I must move the mouse cursor to the bottom left corner of the screen sometime between the whistle and the ensuing faceoff.
- When I get a new beer from the fridge (during a tv timeout), I must open it in the kitchen, and leave the bottle cap on the counter face down. I must put the previous cap on the previous beer and put it in the recycling. Don't forget to put the bottle opener back in the drawer, in these close games finish is important.
- Absolutely no eating allowed while the clock is running.
- My cell phone must be out of my pocket, face up, on the couch next to my left thigh.
- I must not touch any type of towel during the game.
- I must not touch any type of hockey equipment during the game, especially pucks.
- This list could go on forever, and this fanpost is already way too long.
Bottom line: Enjoy the graph, and post your own superstitions in the comments. This should be a fun one.