I want to apologize to any Syracuse University Orange fans out there because I am the reason the No. 1 college basketball team in the country is no longer undefeated. I take full responsibility for the crash of a legendary season, but the real question is: How did I affect the outcome? It’s simple. I went to the game.
On Feb. 19 the Syracuse Orange (25-0) faced the Boston College Eagles (6-19) in the Carrier Dome. ESPN did some fancy calculations and determined that the winning probability for Syracuse was 99 percent. I consider myself a fairly logical person, but when it comes to sports, I am the most superstitious person ever. The 1 percent chance it had to lose was determined by my attendance of the game.
Bud Light is currently running an ad campaign with the slogan “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.” The ads feature fans going through great lengths to make sure they follow a superstition that they believe will let their team win. For example, one features a man repeatedly playing the same song on the jukebox at a bar, even though it resembles “figure skating music,” because every time it comes on, there is a big play in the game.
Personally, my superstition is one that makes being a huge sports fan quite difficult and confusing. I cannot watch my team play a full game of its sport. When a game comes on television, I will only watch in five-minute intervals and then spend 10-minute breaks doing something else before returning to the game.
The superstition started at a young age when I would watch Mets games but be too embarrassed to watch them get humiliated night after night. Many times, however, I would turn off the game halfway and then they would come back and win the baseball game. From then on, I convinced myself that any team would just do better the further I stayed away.
My theory came into play on Feb. 19 as I traveled to Syracuse to attend my first game of the season. I had been to games in previous years and had seen them lose and win games at a pretty even ratio. The second I sat down in my seat, my favorite college basketball team was doomed. I was stuck there the whole game, trapped with no way to escape or not watch except for physically leaving the venue and driving away in my car; I was forced to watch the entire game. Long story short, Syracuse lost in overtime and saw their perfect season slip away because I watched every minute.
I had gone all year being a casual viewing fan. I am a huge supporter and loyal follower, but when it came down to watching a game straight through, I refused all season. This began the greatest beginning to a year in Syracuse basketball history. I had it down to a system in that I would watch various parts of the game but never the end. When I felt like it was safe to check the score, I would put on the channel basically knowing in my mind that Syracuse would have the victory. Then I had to go and screw everything up.
The biggest regret I have in life is not taking to heart the Stevie Wonder song that graces those Bud Light commercials. “Superstitious” should be the mantra in my sporting life. So if you have a crazy superstition, please stick to it. I can tell you firsthand that it’s hard to live with the guilt knowing you cost a team a crucial win.