Have you seen it? A beer commercial has been circulating loaded with rituals that fans perform – rubbing a rabbit’s foot, wearing different colored socks, touching banners, arranging your beer in the fridge just so, etc. “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work” is the ending. And it’s completely true, right? Did you know there are people out there that don’t wash the clothes they wear to watch the game until their team has won the championship? Or they grow a beard in an effort to somehow influence the season? Or how about the person that takes a shower after every inning to ensure his team wins? But my all time favorite is the soccer player who shall remain nameless that performs a crazy ritual involving the sign of the cross, kisses to each knuckle on each hand, and that’s just the part that I catch prior to taking a penalty kick. Lord knows what else he’s doing when the camera isn’t watching.
It’s ridiculous. I judge these people. I scoff. I mock. What possesses a rational human being to exhibit these behaviors as though something completely unrelated would influence the outcome. How does it even make sense?
And yet….and yet….
I am guilty of the same crime. This weekend, our beloved Aggies, my college alma mater, beat the number 1 ranked football team in the nation. It’s not enough to say that this was not how things were supposed to work out. When A&M joined the SEC, we were ridiculed. When the season started, we were ridiculed some more. Even I had my doubts. I was completely nervous that we were about to be the laughing-stock of the collegiate world. And then we began winning. Maybe they weren’t the hardest teams, maybe they were. A win is a win, right? But would we be able to prove ourselves when it came to big teams like LSU and Alabama? True SEC teams as most would see it.
Well, because I am an amazing wife….
Actually, it’s because I have little patience when trying to watch sports while simultaneously trying to entertain a four-year old, that I volunteered the last three games to leave the house with said 4-year-old so my husband could enjoy the Aggie games. Sure, sure you could say that we should be mastering the art of parenting where our 4-year-old can entertain herself or even better, partake in the beautiful past time that is watching sports, but I have no magic wand. These things take time, and frankly, this first season in the SEC while I’m pregnant is not the time to try to instill rational parenting methods. I’m pretty sure one of us would have been scarred for life. It’s quite possible that a nervous tic when college football is mentioned might have even developed.
So, my daughter and I have been entertaining ourselves away from the house. Enjoying the outdoors, discovering new stores, celebrating birthday parties, etc.
This is where the superstition and the ritual kicks in. We’ve won the last 3 games and the last 3 games I have entertained our daughter away from home. Coincidence? I think not. I mean sure, it has mostly to do with the players and the coaching staff, but I’m pretty sure that my behavior from hundreds of miles away is somehow influencing the outcome. How else can you explain it? Worse, what if I’m right and I jinx the team. The whole season rides on my ability to keep doing what I’m doing so the team keeps winning, right?
So, how to time it right so that we don’t get home too soon and ruin everything? What if instead of hogging the awesome interactive computer at the Lakeshore Learning store we had decided to come home early and the play of the game interception had not occurred? Or what if Alabama didn’t jump offsides sealing their fate because I had pulled into the driveway a minute earlier? Clearly these things all depend on my ritual of not being home. Clearly.
Of course, as I was driving home, I realized that one of those games where I stayed away involved LSU which was a loss. But as all good rituals and superstitions go, logical thought is thrown out the window in favor of irrational ones.
Mock me if you will, but we beat the number 1 team in the nation and I managed to entertain a 4-year-old at the same time. Coincidence? I think not.