Article By the Wolfman
All too often in following sports we attribute outcomes (at least in my family and circle of friends) to things that we do during the course of a game. When things are going wrong we switch jerseys, change seats, flip channels, or turn our hats backwards. Of course, we are usually hundreds of miles away from where these events take place, often thousands, so it is very unlikely that we have any real impact on the outcome whatsoever. Yet, for some reason every time Randy writes something positive about the Sixers we all cringe. And more often than not, they lose. And we, more often than not, blame Randy.
During a Raiders game long ago, my family became extremely annoyed with Cris Collinsworth’s badmouthing of the Raiders. Suddenly in a fit of royal genius, I remembered I had an old Collinsworth card somewhere in my old collection of football cards, stuffed in old Utz pretzel barrels, in my folk’s basement. Without hesitation I retrieved his card, and my father, brother (Adam of this blog), and I ceremoniously sent the card into our fireplace.
The Raiders record since that occurrence: 6-125. The Collinsworth jinx is severely strong.
Just kidding. My last entry was stat heavy; in this one the stats will be largely fictionalized.
This year, just before the Bulls vs. Sixers playoff series, a friend of mine who is a Bulls fan, sent a text to me saying, “Even if Rose (Derrick) tears his ACL, we’ll still crush you.” I replied of course, “You better hope that doesn’t happen now.” Forty-seven basketball minutes later, with a decent sized lead, we know what happened to poor Mr. Rose.
So did my friend’s historically horrific karmic text set into motion events that wounded one of the best NBA players in the league? Or was that just the way it was meant to be?
Probably the latter. After all, Rose had been hurt off and on all season. He jumped and landed awkwardly, and that was that. Still, I’m sure my friend regrets that text, much more so than I regret eating half a Red Baron pizza last night – and that is quite a bit of regret.
Of course, every sports fan knows that the only way to combat a jinx is with a reverse jinx. One way, is to overtly get overly complimentary and admit defeat before a game even begins – while in the back of your mind knowing and counting on the opposite outcome. Here is the best example I have seen to date (and it was against me in a fantasy football championship):
No jinxing involved. His team put up 276 more points than mine (the second best team) during the regular season. He is clearly going to win this weekend and Vercengetorix is going to go down as one of the most dominant teams in the history of our league. This match seems to merely be a formality.
(Three full paragraphs omitted. No joke.)
Despite the fact that we aren’t going to win a championship, my team has had a good run this year. We persevered through some injuries and disappointments (I’m looking at you McFadden and Freeman), and I think we proved we can compete for championships when we pay attention week in, week out (a problem for me in recent seasons). We look forward to building on this momentum next year.
Obviously, I couldn’t compete against a reverse jinx that strong – this reverse jinx even referenced itself in the opening statement. It had statistical analysis, shaky knees, and even a concession of defeat. I tried to counter this strong reverse jinx with an all out freeze out. No messages. And I lost. The reverse jinx was too strong. My other mistake was naming my team after a Gaul chieftain, Vercengetorix, who eventually was defeated by Caesar.
So, where does that leave us?
For review, here is how the two forms of jinxing work again. In both cases you first have to assume that universe is going to do everything in its power to prove you wrong. With a jinx you merely state something, usually positive, about a team or outcome. For example, the Patriots are so good this year, there is no way they can possible lose the Superbowl. Outcome, the Patriots lose the Superbowl.
With a reverse jinx, you invite the universe to prove you wrong, to better a team or outcome. For example, the Phillies have had a tough year, despite there being no chance at a Championship this year, we had a good run over the past few years and look forward to getting everyone back healthy. Outcome, TBD.
So do I believe in this hocus pocus? Not really. I mean, how many people out there have experienced something similar? Probably everyone. But that is the point. If we are all jinxing and reverse-jinxing each other, which one ultimately wins out?
Just in case.
To everyone I will ever compete against in fake sports. Your teams are just too strong. We had a good run, but it is just not our time, from now until infinity. We strongly thank you for inviting us to compete in this league, and we will give it our best shot next season, from now until infinity.
And if anyone out there has a Cris Collisnworth card, we are active buyers.