I’m Not Not Superstitious

“Are you serious?” asked Lovie on a cold December night in 2007.

“Well, kinda,” I admitted.

“You’re blaming it on that?” Her question gave me pause. I knew it sounded ludicrous, but still.

“I don’t know if I’m blaming it on that, but I’m not ‘not blaming’ it on that, either.”

“You’re king of the double negatives, you know that?” Again, pause. She had a point.

“I’m not ‘not king’ of double negatives,” I offered.

The issue? Tennessee’s loss to LSU in the SEC championship game. The cause? My brother-in-law and his wife.

“And what, exactly, did they do, again?” asked Lovie.

“They popped the bubble.”

“You’re a joke,” she said as she stormed out of the room.

Maybe, but that didn’t change one simple thing. Whenever you’re watching a big-time ballgame and things are going well for your team, it behooves you to keep the viewing environment as similar as possible until the conclusion of said game. Any modifications could instantaneously change momentum.

Which is exactly what had happened. UT was battling valiantly against a heavily favored LSU squad–all knotted up at 14 midway through the fourth quarter when my brother-in-law and his wife came over to catch the end of the game. By popping by, they also popped the bubble and I knew it, but I tried to shrug it off. Minutes later, Erik Ainge threw a pick six that gave LSU the deciding score.

I know. You think I’m an idiot. And I’m good with that. But guess what? Over a year later, it happened again. I was watching the Tennessee men’s basketball team trying to win their first SEC tournament championship in over twenty years when, with just seconds left to play, my brother-in-law texted me his optimistic belief that the Vols would, indeed, pull it off. The next instant? Tennessee turned the ball over on an in-bounds play and was forced to foul with just seconds remaining. We lost by three.

For those of you who think I’m hating on my brother-in-law, nothing could be further from the truth. He’s not the sports freak that I am, so it’s not like he knows about the bubble. Plus, I had a part in the debacle, too. Had I simply ignored the poorly timed text, my bubble would have remained in tact, and Tennessee would have won their first SEC tourney since the Carter administration.

Still think I’m crazy? Maybe this’ll help. Early in the 1998 football season, I sensed that Tennessee had the intangibles needed to run the table and win a national championship. I got this notion from a gutty road win against a Donovan Mcnabb-led Syracuse team coupled with an aura given off by an orange Tennessee pen. For the rest of the year, I kept that pen with me at all times, never actually using it, only clicking it neurotically during each and every game. It came to be known as the PNCP—the Potential National Championship Pen.

On a cold and drizzly afternoon in November, I sat in Neyland Stadium, soaked to the bone, and watched despondently as Tennessee’s title hopes seemed to be falling by the wayside. We had been down 21-3 and mounted an impressive comeback, but, barring a miracle, that comeback would fall short. With less than two minutes remaining, Arkansas was up by three and had the ball. The Vols had no timeouts left and were unable to do anything other than watch the Razorbacks run out the clock. I turned to the PNCP.

Click, click, click, click.

Click, click, click, click.

Arkansas quarterback Clint Stoerner rolled out for a naked bootleg, and did something every Vol fan will remember for the rest of his or her life. He stumbled to the ground, fumbling the football in the process. Tennessee recovered the ball and scored the winning touchdown four plays later.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNsT8k4mBNA]

Six weeks after that, the PNCP and I were in Arizona proudly watching Tennessee win the first ever BCS National Championship.

How you like me now, huh? RECONGNIZE, bitches.

I know. You still think I’m an idiot. So does Lovie.

Y’all can say what you want, but I’m not gonna change. If I were gonna, it would have already happened. But it hasn’t. Which means I’ve gone through more lucky hats than you have pairs of shoes.

Thanks, JCO. We'll easily take care of Ole Miss now.

So why am I telling you this? Simple. I had a dream last night that Wayne Chism asked me to write a post about superstition because he thought it would bring the Vols good luck in today’s SEC quarterfinal match-up with Ole Miss. And who am I to turn down big Wayne Chism?

So, if we win today, will it really be because I put up this post? I don’t know that I’d go so far as to attribute the win directly to my blog.

But I’m not gonna not attribute it to my blog, either.

And by the way, if you think this post is unbelievable, it’s NOTHING compared to the Great Vol-Burger Debacle of 2003 which I write about in my book Tales from the Trips.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
About john cave osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as DisneyBaby, Babble, YahooShine, TLC and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but he’s pretty sure they were making fun of him. He and his wife, Caroline, live with their five children and spastic dog in Knoxville, TN. Nothing annoys him more than joke-heavy bios written in the third person, with the possible exception of Corey Feldman.

  • meg

    UGH–you of all ppl–did you just jinx us…I stood up to pace with 2 minutes left in AL/KY game and alas, if your post is true we will now face KY for a third time instead of my alma mater…

  • meg

    UGH–you of all ppl–did you just jinx us…I stood up to pace with 2 minutes left in AL/KY game and alas, if your post is true we will now face KY for a third time instead of my alma mater…

  • Nicki

    Love it! I will be cheering on my beloved Mountaineers tonight even though I should be getting a good night’s rest prior to Sunday’s race I am running. Can’t not watch because I am good luck! LOL!

    • Nicki

      And now, since WVU won last night, I have to watch tonight – race eve – again! I love that The Big East is a huge basketball conference but if only they were the six o’clock game not nine.

  • Nicki

    Love it! I will be cheering on my beloved Mountaineers tonight even though I should be getting a good night’s rest prior to Sunday’s race I am running. Can’t not watch because I am good luck! LOL!

    • Nicki

      And now, since WVU won last night, I have to watch tonight – race eve – again! I love that The Big East is a huge basketball conference but if only they were the six o’clock game not nine.

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ Jack

    I get it, really I do.I have seen it happen to my Lakers and The Dodgers. Some things shouldn’t be messed with, period, end of story I have to sit in the same seat and wear my special shirt or all hell will break loose.

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ Jack

    I get it, really I do.I have seen it happen to my Lakers and The Dodgers. Some things shouldn’t be messed with, period, end of story I have to sit in the same seat and wear my special shirt or all hell will break loose.

  • http://worldofweasels.blogspot.com WeaselMomma

    I’m with Lovie. You are an idiot. A lovable idiot, but an idiot none the less.

  • http://worldofweasels.blogspot.com WeaselMomma

    I’m with Lovie. You are an idiot. A lovable idiot, but an idiot none the less.

  • http://pegbur7.wordpress.com pegbur7

    I can’t say you’re an idiot because Hubby says the same kind of crazy crap… :-) oops ok… I just called you crazy instead of idiotic! so… take your pick… whichever you prefer!

  • http://pegbur7.wordpress.com pegbur7

    I can’t say you’re an idiot because Hubby says the same kind of crazy crap… :-) oops ok… I just called you crazy instead of idiotic! so… take your pick… whichever you prefer!

  • http://surprisedmom.blogspot.com SurprisedMom

    I’m with Lovie on this one. And ditto what WeaselMomma said.

  • http://surprisedmom.blogspot.com SurprisedMom

    I’m with Lovie on this one. And ditto what WeaselMomma said.

  • http://daddyfiles.com Daddy Files

    You are not an idiot. You are a wise, wise man. I know, we can smell our own.

    I personally brought the Red Sox their first World Series win in 86 years in 2004. Game 4 of the ALCS, with the Red Sox down 3 games to none to the Yankees and one out away from going home. I knew something had to be done. None of the other stuff like the lucky hat, shirt, etc had worked. So, I took my pants off. And when I did that, Kevin Millar walked. Sensing I needed some added luck, I stood pantsless on my girlfriend’s (now miraculously my wife’s) couch. Dave Roberts promptly stole second. I knew I needed to keep it going so I searched desperately for something else to bring luck. All I saw was my girlfriend’s cat, so I grabbed it and held it. There I was with no pants on, standing on a couch, clutching a cat that was clawing the shit out of me. Well, Bill Mueller got a hit, Roberts scored to tie the game and Papi won it in extra innings.

    After the game I called my dad and my brother, who were watching the game together. They watched the final moments of that game outside on the back porch. My father was holding his lucky penny and a ball he caught at Fenway in 1972. My brother was holding a broomstick with the broom head unscrewed (to avoid the sweep!).

    We rode our traditions all the way to St. Louis and the World Series. And i won’t even get into our traditions watching the Patriots play.

    And I totally get you on people being unlucky. We threw my mom out of the house during Game 3 of the 2004 ALDS against the Angels because she walked in 30 seconds before Vlad Guerrero hit a grand slam to tie the game. I love my mom, but you don’t let ANYONE screw with karma.

    I love this blog and just added it to my reader. We are now friends forever (or at least until our teams play each other), then I’ll be pantsless and you’ll be threatening me with a pan.

  • http://daddyfiles.com Daddy Files

    You are not an idiot. You are a wise, wise man. I know, we can smell our own.

    I personally brought the Red Sox their first World Series win in 86 years in 2004. Game 4 of the ALCS, with the Red Sox down 3 games to none to the Yankees and one out away from going home. I knew something had to be done. None of the other stuff like the lucky hat, shirt, etc had worked. So, I took my pants off. And when I did that, Kevin Millar walked. Sensing I needed some added luck, I stood pantsless on my girlfriend’s (now miraculously my wife’s) couch. Dave Roberts promptly stole second. I knew I needed to keep it going so I searched desperately for something else to bring luck. All I saw was my girlfriend’s cat, so I grabbed it and held it. There I was with no pants on, standing on a couch, clutching a cat that was clawing the shit out of me. Well, Bill Mueller got a hit, Roberts scored to tie the game and Papi won it in extra innings.

    After the game I called my dad and my brother, who were watching the game together. They watched the final moments of that game outside on the back porch. My father was holding his lucky penny and a ball he caught at Fenway in 1972. My brother was holding a broomstick with the broom head unscrewed (to avoid the sweep!).

    We rode our traditions all the way to St. Louis and the World Series. And i won’t even get into our traditions watching the Patriots play.

    And I totally get you on people being unlucky. We threw my mom out of the house during Game 3 of the 2004 ALDS against the Angels because she walked in 30 seconds before Vlad Guerrero hit a grand slam to tie the game. I love my mom, but you don’t let ANYONE screw with karma.

    I love this blog and just added it to my reader. We are now friends forever (or at least until our teams play each other), then I’ll be pantsless and you’ll be threatening me with a pan.

  • http://ivyleagueinsecurities.com Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy L

    I’m not not superstitious either. That said, I don’t think I am quite as crazy as you are :) So, yes, I have a wee bit of sympathy for that woman you so affectionately refer to as Lovie, but only a wee bit.

    (And thoroughly enjoy the fact that the commenter before me declared you his BFF. Good stuff.)

  • http://ivyleagueinsecurities.com Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities

    I’m not not superstitious either. That said, I don’t think I am quite as crazy as you are :) So, yes, I have a wee bit of sympathy for that woman you so affectionately refer to as Lovie, but only a wee bit.

    (And thoroughly enjoy the fact that the commenter before me declared you his BFF. Good stuff.)

  • http://www.realmendriveminivans.com PJ Mullen

    Nothing wrong with superstitions. We had a fraternity brother who would watch games with us occasionally. Every time he’d be in attendance the Patriots would lose. As they were approaching the playoffs (this was before they played the SB against Green Bay), we took him aside, told him that we liked him, but that he was a jinx and wasn’t allowed to show up to our place on Sundays until the game was over.

  • http://www.realmendriveminivans.com PJ Mullen

    Nothing wrong with superstitions. We had a fraternity brother who would watch games with us occasionally. Every time he’d be in attendance the Patriots would lose. As they were approaching the playoffs (this was before they played the SB against Green Bay), we took him aside, told him that we liked him, but that he was a jinx and wasn’t allowed to show up to our place on Sundays until the game was over.

  • http://lifeofanewdad.blogspot.com Otter321

    I was starting to like you until you brought up the 1998 game. Arkansas was undefeated at the time and having their best year ever. We were so close to actuall breaking through into the big time. Thinking of the Stoerner fumble still makes me sick at my stomach. I was at the game in Fayetteville the following year when Arkansas won on a TD pass in the closing moments. It still ranks as my all time favorite game that I saw in person. You got the national championship. I have this. At least its something.

  • http://lifeofanewdad.blogspot.com Otter321

    I was starting to like you until you brought up the 1998 game. Arkansas was undefeated at the time and having their best year ever. We were so close to actuall breaking through into the big time. Thinking of the Stoerner fumble still makes me sick at my stomach. I was at the game in Fayetteville the following year when Arkansas won on a TD pass in the closing moments. It still ranks as my all time favorite game that I saw in person. You got the national championship. I have this. At least its something.

  • http://mothereseblog.com Kristen @ Motherese

    As someone who has had her own mojo broken by an unwitting interloper, I feel your pain. I’m sure your BIL is a wonderful man, but did he not realize that he was violating all that is good and holy in sports fandom by texting you before the victory was in the books? You’re a true gentleman for forgiving him.

    Wishing you, Bruce, Wayne, and all Vols fans best of luck the next couple of weeks. Play to make the committee realize they gave you a seed that was way too low!

    Meanwhile, turn off your phone and stay off Twitter during the upcoming games. You don’t want to take the chance that your BIL could mess things up again. :)

  • http://mothereseblog.com Kristen @ Motherese

    As someone who has had her own mojo broken by an unwitting interloper, I feel your pain. I’m sure your BIL is a wonderful man, but did he not realize that he was violating all that is good and holy in sports fandom by texting you before the victory was in the books? You’re a true gentleman for forgiving him.

    Wishing you, Bruce, Wayne, and all Vols fans best of luck the next couple of weeks. Play to make the committee realize they gave you a seed that was way too low!

    Meanwhile, turn off your phone and stay off Twitter during the upcoming games. You don’t want to take the chance that your BIL could mess things up again. :)

  • Pingback: Three Days Until Football, But Who’s Counting? « And Triplets Make Six