Sunday, January 4, 2009

No, no, it points up, so the luck doesn't run out

There is something about a sporting event that just brings out the pagan in all of us.

When the Big Game comes, we make sure to wear our lucky shirts. That's if we're fortunate. Sometimes it's our lucky socks, or - worse - lucky underwear. Because the chemistry of lucky clothing states that luck is soluble in laundry water, so under no circumstances should lucky clothing be washed until either defeat is achieved or a championship is at hand.

It is unclear what effect simple stain removal has on luck, but a true sports fan knows that it is best not to chance it.

And if the Good Guys should somehow do something good - if momentum goes their way or they get a break or make a great play, well, then, it must be because of you. Couldn't possibly be because of anything done by anyone at the stadium or - perish the thought - on the field. It was you. All you. Luck knows no spatial limits. It is multi-dimensional.

It might not be because of your lucky clothing item, though - it could be your position in the chair, or the motion you made just as the play started, or even whether you are present in the room watching or not. These are rather more difficult things to manage than lucky clothing though, for different reasons.

The first one can lead to cramps if you're not careful. The second: carpal tunnel syndrome. And as for the third, I once spent an unintentionally hilarious afternoon at the apartment of a friend of mine - a huge Notre Dame football fan - who spent the whole game in the bathroom because every time he went in they would score and every time he came out they would fumble. It's a good thing the game didn't go into overtime, or we would have all had to go next door to relieve ourselves. Lord knows he wasn't going to let the Fighting Irish lose just for our comfort.

And don't even get started on omens. Sports fans read more omens than economists do, and with results that approach similar levels of accuracy.

For example, do you know that the last time the Phillies won the World Series (well, the only other time prior to this year, in 1980 - it's not like it happens all the time, so it's pretty easy to keep track of this sort of thing) the Eagles were a wild-card playoff team and ended up going to the Super Bowl? Well I do. That's the omen. They lost that year, but omen-reading is an inexact science and should not be interpreted as guaranteeing a second loss in the Super Bowl under those conditions. There's wiggle room, you see.

I, along with several million newly-minted Eagles fans in Wisconsin, watched the Birds beat the Vikings in today's playoff game. I wore my Westbrook jersey, and - since it worked so well last week in the GLORIOUS DEFEAT of the PARASITES ON THE PEOPLE, the Cowboys (there's just something about the Cowboys that inspires Stalinist rhetoric; maybe it's the star) - we got Tabitha to wear her Eagles jersey as well. It was a hard-fought game, and much closer than the various experts had predicted it would be, but the Eagles live to fight another day.

And of course, on that day Tabitha and I shall be wearing our jerseys.

If they make it to the Super Bowl, we'll have a party. We'll have scented candles.

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