Hockey fans are interesting, exciting and passionate fans. They also have their hockey fan superstitions and rituals. If you’re like me, you get extremely nervous before your hockey club’s big game. You might fidget and even pace around the room. You might believe that you can change the outcome of the game.
I’m a Minnesota Wild fanatic. I love my team and when it comes to the Wild I wear my emotions on my sleeve. The past few days have been a whirl wind but like my team, I have to try and compose myself. We have a big series coming up with the mighty Chicago Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks a formidable foe but make no mistake about it, this Minnesota Wild superstition magician will do everything in his power to will the Minnesota Wild to the next round.
Some of my superstitious behavior involves the jinx/counter jinx. Let the rituals begin. Game one is at 8:30 CST tonight and I don’t have much time to get started.
Phone/Email a Friend
Back in the old days, before the internet, the phone was my biggest superstition/counter jinx ally. I remember picking up that phone with the twisted cord to phone my friends and talk about the hockey playoffs. The phone began and ended with; The Jets have zero, no chance of winning. Put a fork in them, they are done.
Fast forward 25 years. Today there are a lot of tools at my exposure. I still have the phone but I also have technology at my disposal. I can email my friend on my laptop, smart phone or tablet. I can also use those devices to login into Twitter and Facebook.
It doesn’t matter what tool I use. The message will be the same and it starts now. This time the world will be reading. The message goes like this; The Wild has almost no chance of defeating the Stanley Cup Champions. The Chicago Blackhawks are talented team from the beginning of their lineup to the very end of it. They had 10; count them, 10 Olympic Hockey participants. They have grit and determination and playoff experience…and don’t forget about their future hall of fame goalie. That guy is unbeatable. He’s a future Hall of Famer. The guy is MR. consistent and the Wild are in big trouble.
So now that I’ve set the stage. Am I done? No way. I’ve just begun. What lies ahead of me is a grueling series that will leave me emotionally battered, win or lose.
The pre-game ritual will begin a couple of hours before the drop of the puck. I will get home early enough this evening, to have an early dinner. I can’t eat just before the game or be full. The nerves, coupled with the indigestion will be a game breaker. I need all of my physical capacities to be working at 100%.
Under no circumstances will I watch the pre-game show. That is a distraction that will just make me more nervous. I will scan it from time to time, just to make sure that I don’t miss the opening faceoff. The only thing that is permitted is listening to our nation’s anthem. That is a requirement for me.
I must also have my mental composure. So I will do some breathing exercises and my pre-game paces. I will survey my surroundings and make sure that I’m familiar with my game viewing floor plan
Where I sit or stand during a game is critical to my team’s success. In my mind it is. Reality doesn’t count here. It all started at a friend’s house during the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Team Canada had looked sluggish during the early rounds. I was at my friend’s house for the quarter finals and I decided to stand about four feet from the TV (and to the right of it).
What happened from that moment on was classic. Team Canada rocked and rolled. They were on fire. As a matter of fact my friend wouldn’t allow me to sit or stand anywhere else for the Semifinal and final game. Team Canada defeated the USA to win gold.
If I remember correctly, you could see my foot prints embedded in my friend’s carpet, even after two days of not assuming my position.
I’ve carried on that tradition and today, I still stand slightly to the right and about four feet away from the TV. My foot prints can be seen after the game is over. My wife might think that I’m crazy but the Wild did win games six and seven against the Colorado Avalanche didn’t they?
I almost forgot to tell you about my stance. My feet are extended about two feet apart. I can bend my knees and rock back and forth (without moving my feet). The only time that I can move from my stance is during commercial breaks. There are no exceptions (well a family emergency will trump that. I’m not that crazy).
Once the game has started, my wife (kids are not put under this rigorous regiment) and anyone who is in the house to watch the game must follow a simple rule. Once you have assumed your position on the couch, in the room or in another room, messing with those positions is bad Karma. This is important stuff and any shift from the rules can be disastrous.
There are a few other superstitions and rituals that I do but the most important one is how the remote is utilized. Only the volume can be changed. The position of the remote at the start of the game should remain until the end of it. If I’m holding the remote in my left hand, it will stay there (minus the commercials and intermissions) for the entire game.
If my finger is resting on a particular button when the Wild score, it will remain there. It is important for me to always be aware of what I’m doing, so that I don’t mess with a good thing.
How Have My Superstations Worked Out?
By now, you probably think that I’m off my rocker and you might be asking yourselves; how have my superstitions and rituals worked for my teams? Game six and seven worked like a charm as the Minnesota Wild came from behind in the series to defeat the Colorado Avalanche in OT of game seven at the Pepsi Center.
The Wild also played well down the stretch, winning huge games in the last one and a half months. Because of the team’s great play, they were able to earn the seventh seed of the Western Conference.
The Minnesota Wild also went on a wild playoff run and defeated the Colorado Avalanche in OT of game seven to advance to the next round.
So I’m doing pretty well aren’t I. Well if you disregard the 10 seasons after 2003, my track record hasn’t been good at all but it’s not the fault of my rituals and superstitions. As any NHL head coach will tell you, it’s the players who take the ice and make the plays. The fact that they didn’t achieve success can’t be my fault, can it?
I can tell you that if I stop with my rituals and superstitions and the Wild lose, it will be my fault and I will blame myself. For the few times that my rituals have worked, it provides me with enough faith to continue. Some baseball players only have a 275 batting average but are considered good players. So I’m a good extra silent fan.
Anthony Bloch (AKA Sportmentary) – is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Sportmentary Online Sports Talk.
In addition to running his blog, Anthony writes a weekly column for Last Word on Sports and writes about the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.