Oct 122012

In a stunning rebuke of America’s politically-charged society, the Gods of Football chose to punish the Pittsburgh Steelers because some of their fans deigned to pay even the slightest bit of attention to the Biden-Ryan VP debate last night. The Steelers fell to the Tennessee Titans, 26-23 on a last-second field goal, dropping their record to 2-3.

Al Messerschmidt, Getty Images

“Political pundits across the nation have spoken about the relative unimportance of this debate to the greater outcome of the President Election in November so we were surprised and disappointed that normally erudite Steelers fans disregarded the science of Superstition and watched the VP debate instead,” said a clearly angry Pop Warner, chief spokesman for the Football Deities. “Even channel surfing between the two is considered bad form. In our estimation, Titans fans’ attentions weren’t as divided so we chose to reward their loyalty.”

Your humble narrator can attest to the scatter-brained nature of the Nation as after the game, he saw numerous Facebook posts and tweets by otherwise loyal Steelers fans who had been commenting on the VP debate during the game.

Let this be a lesson, Steelers Nation. FOOTBALL > politics. The Gods do not care about your political loyalties, or even your level of activity or advocacy. But when your Steelers are playing, TUNE THE FRAK IN!

Photo Credit: Al Messerschmidt, Getty Images

Jun 072009

… or why I hate being kicked when I’m down

I’m not much for trash talk. I don’t usually like to rise to the bait. Superstition plays a huge part here because I fear what the sports Gods will do when faced with such presumptuousness. Call me paranoid but when your first full season following a sport ends because of a Francisco Cabrera single, you don’t tend towards overconfidence.

I do recognize the role of trash-talk for both fans and the players. But by and large, players make nice after a game. They shake hands in hockey, basketball, football and soccer even at the end of a hard-fought, bitterly contested game. They may not like each other but they at least attempt to act civil. Fans, however, often keep on talking after the games. (And before anyone tries to say that we have the right to speak as we choose, please SHUT UP. Your right to act like a boor is not in question here).

I think it’s all good and well (and perhaps a little fun) to trash-talk before or even during a game. But afterwards, act like you’ve been there. I’m one of those fans who, for better or worse, takes my sports affiliations way too seriously. I take it personally when my team loses. I can’t even watch Sportscenter for a few days after a big loss to say nothing of having to hear some blathering idiot drone on about the superiority of the foe who vanquished my team. I’ll give them their dues but just let me move on.

Teaching sportsmanship

Some people place value on kicking others while they are down. I, however, prefer NOT to be kicked when I’m down for the count. In the former stance, the individual(s) in question is, hopefully, thick-skinned enough to take it when the team loses because this behavior defines turnabout as fair play. In  the latter stance, you have to act like you’ve been there before regardless of the outcome; be gracious in victory or defeat.

While we all get some morbid satisfaction from the misery of others in defeat, I don’t think there’s any reason to rub it directly in their faces. For me, the greater pleasure is celebrate my team’s achievements with my fellow fanbase.

Mar 282009


Since I’m never good at explaining it in person, let me take a quick stab at explaining the logic behind superstition.

Superstitious behavior is a convoluted but well-meaning attempt to use the Scientific Method to affect the outcome of a contest. Quite simply, if a particular action coincides with the favored outcome, then I will attempt to replicate the same conditions going forward. I am attempting to “control” for a particular set of variables.


The complexity of truly superstitious behavior is something with which we constantly struggle. I sit in a particular seat for a football game but what did I have to eat. Was my dog wearing his jersey. How and when did I cross my legs. Who was I texting during the game. And on and on and on.

The skeptic will surely point out that where I choose to sit for a football game in my living room cannot logically have an impact on the outcome of the contest. This is where the convolution comes to the fore. It’s the butterfly effect run amok and in an increasingly flat world, who’s to say which dots connect to each other.

Perhaps if I get up to get something to eat at a particular time, my dog will get up to follow me as well. He’ll trip on the speaker wire, which shorts out my TV. The electrical surge will travel from my house downstream to the power company, which supplies the power for the lights at the stadium of my team. The stadium lights flicker during a critical play in the game, causing a wide receiver to momentarily lose his concentration. Finally, he drops a pass that would have ensured victory for my team!

And don’t think I can’t connect my actions to an away game, to an international game, to any game. Is your mind boggled yet? Welcome to my (sports) life.

Photo Credit: Bettman/CORBIS