I laugh in the face of superstition.

I’ll walk under a ladder, step on cracks in the pavement, and I can spill any amount of salt without feeling the need to throw some of it over my shoulder.

But it all goes to pot when it comes to sport.

It’s all because of my upbringing; being a life-long Newcastle United fan has completely messed with my psyche. Historically, the team is pathologically incapable of defending a lead. 2-0 up with eight minutes left? We’ll lose 3-2. 12 points clear at the top of the Premiership? You can put money on us finishing second.

As a result, I’m horribly superstitious when it comes to sport. I don’t have to wear a particular shirt on game day or anything like that, but no-one is allowed to leave the room during play, and there are some things you just don’t say until the final whistle blows. In particular I can never, ever relax during a game, and will never, ever take for granted a lead of any magnitude. To do so would be to jinx it.

“Don’t jinx it!”, I’ll say, if anyone in the room ventures a favourable opinion on the team’s chances of winning.

“Don’t jinx it!”, I’ll say, as my team is five goals ahead with twenty seconds left on the clock.

I know it makes no sense, but I firmly believe that the USA’s goal with 24 seconds left in the final period of the gold medal Olympic hockey game was due to my friend prematurely shouting “let’s go downtown!!!” about 15 seconds earlier.

So the Canucks’ overtime defeat on Saturday was definitely because another friend said, with the Canucks 2-0 up, “winning in regulation time is boring. I wanna see some OT!”

And here’s what went down on Twitter last night:

Sigh. Three different friends. I clearly need to start watching games alone (or at least just with Mr E Man, who knows better by now), with no internet access.

Of course, there’s no possibility at all that it was the team’s fault. No sirree. The refs, yes, because the officiating has been terrible all series (apparently this was not a legitimate high sticking call) and there’s clearly a conspiracy, but the team? No. Couldn’t be. The dreadful penalty kill was totally the fault of the exchange of bits and pixels hundreds of miles away. Yeah.

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
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21 Responses to Superstition

  1. Kyrsten says:

    I'm not particularly surprised who ruined that for you!

  2. kyrsten says:

    I should rephrase. I'm not surprised that a rabid hockey fan like D would post stuff on Twitter. My twitter feed was FULL of hockey last night. Guess you'll have to seclude yourself!

  3. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    LOL, thank you for clarifying – I thought I was in trouble there for a moment :)Aren't you supposed to be at a wine festival or something?

  4. ScientistMother says:

    I was thinking about yuh last night and was going txt you a WTF

  5. Beth says:

    I swear you and I are twins who were separated at birth. I too am not superstitious about anything… excepts sports. I once caused a Canuck playoff loss because of a cursed chocolate bar. I got it during one game and we lost. Then we were losing the next game and it hit me that clearly it was the unfinished chocolate bar's fault and so I forced myself to devour the remainder of the bar and the Canucks then won the game. Which is scientific proof of my theory of the cursed chocolate bar.

  6. Bob O'Hara says:

    Whisper it quietly, but Newcastle are going to have to find a away to be deducted 20 points.I might have mentioned this before, but the Newcastle ice hockey team were owned by a Finn, who had called his Finnish teams "Jokerit", with a joker on their badge. I was so disappointed when they were called the Newcastle Jesters.

  7. chall on vacation (no internet...) says:

    I've avoided hockey on my vacation. Not by choice mind you, but to my surprise NONE of my family or friends seem to be a fan….. pahh…I'll hope that Canucks wack the living daylights out of LA. Dno't like them. Although, I guess they're better than the ducks…. 😉

  8. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    ScientistMother, WTF? sounds about right. Let's hope they get it sorted out for tonight's game.Beth, that's hilarious! What kind of chocolate bar was it? I will obviously avoid that brand until the playoffs are over.Bob, LOL, I wouldn't put it past Ashley to find yet another way to fuck the club over like that. I have to say that spending a season in a lower league has been a really nice change of pace – big fish in a small pond and all that. I'd forgotten what it was like to win games! I don't think our return to the premiership next year will be quite as triumphant as it was last time, when Keegan's boys stormed the top of the table; I'll settle for mid-table obscurity. And I refuse to get caught up in another wave of heady optimism. We can't get fooled again!The Newcastle Jokers is a great name for a team. We're far, far removed from Keegan's Entertainers…. Chall, amazing that you can post with no internet! :)You're probably better off not watching this series. I'll say one thing for LA though: despite some idiots booing the Canadian anthem (and the singer having to read the lyrics off his iPhone), their fans created a fantastic atmosphere at the last game. I guess 8 years of not making the playoffs will do that for you!

  9. Silver Fox says:

    I don't like walking under ladders, and *prefer* not to step on cracks (OMG am I OCD?). Friends who jinx your team like that, though… are they still your friends?

  10. davemacdonald says:

    7 minutes left in Game 4. I've said nothing. The score is 4-3. Unless this counts, I've surely respected my ban and the response is positive. Whoops, nevermind. 4-4.

  11. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Dave: nice job, well played. You get an assist. But the goal (Canucks goal #4) belongs to the friend we just watched the game with. The friend who said, on Saturday, "winning in regulation time is boring. I wanna see some OT!"The friend who said, 10 seconds before the Canucks' 4th goal tonight: "I'm sorry. I've given up on us. I feel bad, but…"(Seriously. I am not making this up. He really, truly, did say that, at just that time. I would not lie about this stuff, it's far too important to mess around with).Silver Fox: good point! But two of them just redeemed themselves tonight! I don't know about the guy from the gold medal Olympic game, I haven't seen or heard from him tonight…Also: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!That is all.

  12. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    I'm sorry, I meant 10 seconds before our 5th goal, not our 4th. I knew it was our penultimate goal, but I forgot about the empty netter that made it 6.Some beverages were harmed in the making of tonight's comments.

  13. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    But really, truly, honestly, he did say that, 10 seconds before that goal.

  14. chall says:

    Cath: I know, amazing isn't? 😉 (It's more about sneaking into some kind of magic internet connection place every once in a while. Vrey seldom is also a word… but it's good for me. live in the reality of people. in the flesh so to speak. ^^)I'll keep updated about the games since I want to see the play offs. The last scores I saw though had me all confused. Red Wings loosing , Canucks struggling etc… sounds like the last thing have change though.Go Canucks!! 😀

  15. Thomas Joseph says:

    Yeah, you totally wouldn't like watching games with me. I'd intentionally leave the room for all sorts of reasons (save a child in the street, bathroom break, vote, help an old lady across the street) just to mess with your head.

  16. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Only one of the above is a legitimate reason to leave the room

  17. Kyrsten says:

    I was at a wine festival but it didn't start until 9 pm. I'm an adult who goes out late now 😛 Also remember I have an iPhone now – I can be *everywhere* at once. I'm a horrible fan – keep missing all the games due to no cable and other commitments. thankfully my neighbours and the pub screaming keep me updated on the score.

  18. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Wow, I'd have been asleep after my first glass…

  19. tideliar says:

    Late to the party, but I caused a local hockey team to lose a playoff game once…I was dating this girl who I found out was cheating on me with one of their star forwards (?). So seeing as I had the flu I made sure we did the friends with benefits thing one last time. Then she saw him (nice euphemism), gave him the flu and he spread it round their team. By the time they reached the quarter finals the entire first team was out sick 🙂

  20. Kyrsten says:

    @tideliar, that is truly awesome. Revenge really is a dish best served cold (with a sneeze). Priceless.

  21. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Agreed, that is a world-class story! Just… don't tell the England football team, OK?!

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