26 August 2011

Wherein I wax superstitious

     Football season is nigh upon us, friends, that glorious span of the year where Sunday afternoon is held as sacred as Sunday morning (or Friday night, Saturday at some point, or Tuesdays, depending on your faith or devotion to Domino's pizza specials).  I watched the ultimate in pigskin onanism (don't look it up, mom) last night; the televised pre-season game*.

     It was like that first kiss from a lover you haven't seen in months, at the airport when they arrive; the promise of so much more and yet knowing that there won't be more until later.  The analogy kind of breaks down there, since "what comes later" for football involves tens of thousands of people while for you and your lover not so much.  Unless it does, in which case, good for you.  What was I ... right: football!

     For someone with as much education as I have documented evidence of, I am very much too superstitious about football.  I think it's because I've been watching football for longer than I can remember.  It's rooted deep in my psyche, like my thirst for justice and my love for hot dogs.  For this reason, I figure, I consider that what I do and how I behave is in some way cosmically connected to my team's on-field performance.

     You see, from somewhere in the mid-1980's until about 1994ish I was a Redskins fan, but then college got in the way and I wasn't watching football on Sunday afternoons.  As I finished up college in Baltimore, I started following the Ravens, and have been a fan ever since.  Chart the relative success of the two teams over those time periods, and you'll see that I might be on to something.  As a kid, the way I crossed my fingers to how raptly I watched the game, if only I rooted hard enough, they might just pull it out against Joe Montana/Steve Young and the 49ers. Once I grew up, it became about the clothes.

     I was gifted my current jersey of choice (#82) by the ex-Mrs. in 2000, and promptly used a thread ripper to remove "SHARPE" from the back when Shannon went back to Denver to finish his career.  I've proudly worn this nameless jersey, the number worn by so many second-stringers, to games at home, home games in Baltimore, to the office and to friends' houses, in friendly and hostile environments.  It has been a companion, a comfort, a badge of honor, and a beacon for criticism (seriously, Steeler fans, get a life).  It's a garment that has accumulated a lot of juju in the past decade.  I think maybe too much.

     So like dreadlocks, I think it's time to cut ties to my old #82.  I've grown partial to the number, and hopefully Torrey Smith makes the team, and they sell his jersey.  Perhaps that's the sign I've been searching for.  Because I definitely need a sign.  Have you seen how much those jerseys cost?  Wow.  I might be superstitious, but if not for a sale maybe I won't wash the socks I wear on game day.

*Some might consider the draft more worthy of this title.  I will leave this decision as an exercise for the reader, but comments are welcome.

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