(I worked as a Sports Editor from late 2004 until the summer of 2006. This is one of the many columns I was able to save that were originally published in The Sun-Times of Heber Springs, Arkansas.)
The dictionary says the meaning of jinx is something or someone that causes bad luck. Sometimes I believe that I am the someone that does something to make that definition come true.
My wife thinks I am a blabbering idiot when I confess this, and maybe she’s right. About the idiot part anyway. Every now and then she almost convinces me that I have no bearing on the outcome of any sporting event. Until a weekend like this past one rolls around.
Take for instance Concord’s Friday night game against Mt. Vernon-Enola. In last Wednesday’s paper I incorrectly reported that ICC gave the Pirates their first conference loss of the season.
Of course, that was moronic of me, because ICC isn’t even in the same classification as Concord, much less their conference. So even though the Pirates has never lost a basketball game that I have covered, I can’t help but feel like I jinxed them since I reported the conference loss that never happened.
I wish I could say that I was just practicing my mutant ability to see the future, and I’ll soon be in Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, but I am not a youngster nor a mutant and I can’t see the future.
I’m not sure what I did to jinx Memphis, but their future isn’t looking too bright these days. In a season already filled with turmoil, the Tigers received a double stomach punch on Saturday. TCU dropped a desperation 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds to go and beat Memphis by two, and then word leaked that sophomore Sean Banks will be ruled ineligible for the second semester.
Maybe I should have put on my Tiger t-shirt on Saturday or put my shoes on before my pants or something, because I am sure that it was something I did or didn’t do. This was supposed to be a great season for the Tigers, with a sure bid to the NCAA tournament looming in March.
If I wasn’t to blame, then it has to be Banks. He’s been riding the bad karma train since the off-season when he blew off workouts for the USA’s Under-21 team and reported to school out of shape.
The Tigers suffered a mighty blow Saturday, but the New York Jets’ season came to a close. The Jets have been long suffering since Broadway Joe made his bold statement before Super Bowl III last century, and some might even say that the win after the guarantee jinxed the franchise.
No matter how you look at it, some weirdness was definitely happening, because the game was New York’s third overtime contest in a row. It went to overtime because Jets kicker Doug Brien missed two field goals in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, the first time in NFL postseason history that has happened.
Steelers fans and players were calling it a miracle. Jets fans and players were calling it a jinx.
I didn’t have anything to do with the Jets misery, but the Vikings game Sunday might have been a different story. My buddy Marshall is a huge Minnesota fan, so I called him 15 minutes before kick-off to wish him good luck, even though I was sure they wouldn’t need it.
Not only did I break one of my own rules by calling, but I also said they would win the game. If someone had done that to me before one of my teams played a big game, I’d be tossing salt over my shoulder and doing reverse whammies while standing fully clothed in the shower.
More than likely it wasn’t my fault; instead, the blame should fall on the Vikings for treating the game like it was just another Sunday.
The second playoff game on Sunday was the Colts and Patriots showdown in snow swept Foxboro Stadium, a place where league MVP Peyton Manning has never won in his career.
This year figured to be different due to the ever-increasing potency of the Colts offense, as well as the fact that the Patriots defense is so depleted that wide receiver Troy Brown has seen time at defensive back.
But the Colts stayed in the stable and New England held Manning and his men to three points. Jinx or not, Belichick and the Pats have Manning’s number.
It should be noted that this loss wasn’t because of Peyton. The label unfairly given to him that he “can’t win the big one”, is unjustified. Manning came out on fire, but his team was cold as the temperatures in New England.
The reliable receiving corps dropped four passes in the first half alone. Manning only threw one bad pass in the first half, and that was after a sack and near fumble. He is as efficient a quarterback as there has ever been, and he will win a title one day.
He’ll probably just have to find a way to break the jinx that keeps him from beating New England. I might have to send him the link to luckymojo.com, a site that advertises bath crystal salts for jinx breaking. Apparently, you can reverse the curse with a good floor washing or bathing.
Or, as my beautiful wife Maggie says, “you can just stop believing in jinxes and wash the pair of ‘lucky Tiger pants’ that has a mustard stain from 1994 on them”.