Magic 101, Bulls 98

How do you start a jinx? Looking for associations. Noticing how doing a task that shouldn’t do anything looks as if it kickstarts wins for you or your opposition. A lucky shirt? Jumping from foul grass to fair? A ritual action isn’t as ridiculous if its actor is going out and striving for victory. Thinking your shirt is lucky could assist you in scoring or pitching.

But for a fan, it’s hard to justify. Your talking or not talking shouldn’t allow a forthcoming pitch to land as a hit or out. Oh, you can clap, but not until you know how things go. Your shortstop grabs it for an out? Clap. If not? Boo. Our sound follows a play, judging it as good or bad. To say how it might go too soon is odd, and at its limits, wrong.

Up until last night, I didn’t consciously know that. I thought it was obvious, without knowing it was just a trait of that sport in particular. But last night, I saw NBA “fall training”. It’s backwards in Madison’s asylum (or was my thought backwards?). You boo, and following that, your opposition’s points climb up. Taking foul shots, Orlando had to focus through Chicago fans’ roars. Or fans will try to outshout fans in an adjoining group of chairs to win T-shirts. Or clap for a fan who sings songs–two sing, thousands clap to pick which will win McDonald’s food. I doubt this sort of fan would classify saying things as jinx-worthy–or, if so, not surprisingly. Why shouldn’t your sound impact what occurs? Why wait until it stops to shout?

With 24.0 and falling to play, things slow down. Fouls, foul shots, and I can follow what’s occuring! Anything to stop play and wind up with that ball. I watch, I know what’s going on, and it’s a bit of a shock as 2.0 turns into 0.0 so quickly.

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Going Mad In March

Last spring, I was my gym class’s top NCAA Nostradamus. I’m anything but a hoops fan, but I could look at ranks and win-loss totals. I thought that a localish school couldn’t win too much–if it was that good, I would know that, right? Silly bias (that sort of school can’t play sports, can it? No, it couldn’t), finding a 12 that won against its 5, and I was triumphant.

For an ignoramus such as I was, picking just #1s and such was a good tactic–particularly for that Final Four. But a thing within us holds us back, mandating a Valpo or two. Not too many, though.

Unsurprisingly, I saw a lot of hoops on TV that spring by my low standards. Without affiliation to any school, I’d just root for my picks. Or so I thought, but I had to, right? It was only rational. So I’d root against squads with bandwagons I’d usually board. And it was sad. This month, with my picks laid out, I thought I would do so again.

I’m writing this, longhand, as Dayton is finishing its first-round win. I know fans who sit in stands I know firsthand, watching a cousin play for Dayton. I had WVU to win, but didn’t support it. I can’t brag about this. Fandom is not a conscious act of volition.

But I’m still happy.