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.