The S Word
| If you’re a hockey fan at all, you know the unwritten rule. You don’t say the “S word” when a goalie is on the verge of blanking the opposition. Most diehards swear that the utterance of the “S word” will cause the Hockey Gods to use their cosmic powers to put the puck past your favorite goalie, sometimes in the most unlikely of manners.
I don’t subscribe to the superstition myself. Heck, my dog’s name is Jinx. Need more proof? If you were in GM Place last night, you heard me tell the crowd “Roberto Luongo is just 10 minutes away from setting a new franchise record for a shutout streak”. That didn’t sit too well with some of you, who felt I had doomed Luongo’s chances of stonewalling the Blue Jackets for the necessary timeframe.
However, Luongo proved you wrong as he turned aside every shot he faced in the 3rd period for his third consecutive goose egg. This guy is way better than any alleged jinx that may exist with the “S word”. Believe me, if I had the power to influence the outcome of professional sports, I’d be filthy rich from winning repeatedly in Vegas.
But I know there are those of you that will always believe in the jinx as it supposedly applies to both hockey and baseball. You don’t mention the “s word” and you don’t talk to a pitcher on the verge of a no-hitter or a perfect game. So for those of you that still hit the Ouaji Board every weekend, here are some of the other supposed sports jinxes for you to cling to:
THE SPORTS ILLUSTRATED COVER JINX
According to urban legend, rough times are ahead for those who grace the cover of North America’s top Sports mag. In true SI form, the weekly did a story on this alleged curse back in 2003 and Kurt Warner refused to pose for the cover.
So they slapped a black cat on instead and did their homework.
Senior writer Alexander Wolff’s research determined that the cover athlete’s play declined 37% of the time immediately after adorning the front page.
While it never wreaked havoc with the careers of stars like Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky, there are some weird coincidences. Like in 1960, when All-American quarterback Bob Schloredt was pictured taking a snap on the cover.
A week later, his heavily favored UW Huskies lost to Navy in the waning minutes when Schloredt fumbled a snap.
THE MADDEN JINX
Get on the cover of Madden Football and bad things happen.
Hard to believe it could happen to so many good athletes as only elite players get the honour of having their image highlight the shell of the latest vid.
But it’s eerie when you look at what has happened to the likes of Shaun Alexander, Donovan McNabb and Marshall Faulk during the seasons in which they were cover boys.
The worst? Michael Vick in 2004 as he broke his ankle in a preseason game the day after the game was available in stores.
THE PUBLIC GUARANTEE
Although it’s worked a few times, most notably when Joe Namath declared the Jets would beat the heavily favored Colts in super Bowl III and when Mark Messier scored a natural hat trick to back up his guarantee that the Rangers would down the Devils in game 6 back in 1994, calling your shot in public usually doesn’t work out.
Remember when Todd Bertuzzi told Wild fans lining up for game 6 tickets back in 2004 that there wouldn’t even be a game 6? Canucks’ fans remember all too well how that series ended.
Or what about Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck during the Hawks 2004 playoff game in Green Bay? Upon winning the coin toss in overtime, Hasselbeck blurted, “We’ll take the ball and were going to score!” on national television. Minutes later, Hasselbeck fired an interception that was returned by the Packers’ Al Harris for the game-winning points. If it works, you’re a hero but if not, you’re a zero.
So if you’re still of the mind that your words or actions can determine the outcome of games, add those hexes to your list. I’ll continue to believe that the players are the ones that control their teams’ destinies.
Although if Luongo’s working on a shutout streak the next time I host a Canucks game, I might choose my words a bit differently when they throw my mug up on the big screen.