Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Superstitions and Curses: Fact or Fiction

With the massive groups of fans in the world of sports, I guess you can call sports a religion. There is worship, condemnation, praise, teaching, and lots and lots of  "saints." There's another form of worship in the world of sports, and that form of worship is through superstition. It's common, and it can sometimes get out of hand. If it becomes a trend and later an obsession, these little eensy weensy superstitions can turn into these big fat worry warts we call curses.

Sports Illustrated, Madden NFL Games, the Billy Goat, the Bambino, William Penn, the list goes on. Many of these "curses" have been broken, but many of them are as alive as ever. Teams and even individual players can tell you how these curses have affected them even though they might not even believe in them. Last night, many people watched a curse break, as the Texas Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays and dropped the title as the only American professional sports franchise to have never won a postseason series. Unfortunately, not everybody can have this joy in breaking a curse, as several teams are still immersed in one. (cough cough Chicago Cubs cough cough Detroit Lions cough cough cough)

Sports curses don't just exist in the major sports leagues either.
According to my research...
There are curses that exist in racing and curling as well.

But let's cut to the chase here... are we taking these superstitions and curses a little too seriously? Are we becoming an obsessive-compulsive society? It seems like we're taking the expression "lucky" to a whole new level. I guess it's been etched in our heads as something "cool" or "necessary." Heck, I even did this one when I played softball before I went into high school: In the film A League of Their Own it was mentioned that if you don't cross your fingers while moving through a cemetery you'll never get another hit. I did it for about a year. Then I stopped. Then I noticed that it was a sham. It's weird how little things like that can make people go nuts. Parents have taken their children/teenagers to see psychiatrists because little obsessions like this have gone way too far. It's as if once the word "curse" is brought up, it emits a surging stigma through everyone within the same room and shocks everyone's innards until they're completely spooked and paranoid about the so-called "curse."

So here's the question: are these obsessions worth it? Are curses and superstitions real, alive, and well?
If I had to give a goofy, know-nothing response, I would say "blame it on the concussions" due to a previous entry that I wrote on this blog. However, in all seriousness, you might have to take a philosophical point of view on this. It's almost as if you're comparing it to whether you believe in Heaven and Hell or not at all. Curses and superstitions give you that mental assurance (or lack thereof) that something will go right or wrong depending on the situation that is before you. On the other hand, it could also be just a wacky case of coincidence that certain players, teams, and fans have been plagued with in their journey of appreciating and participating in sports. Every good once in a while, you get the determined men and women who work to "reverse the curse" or prove that a particular superstition is just a farce. Some have succeeded, some have failed. In comparison of spiritual truths, it's like the battle between good and evil on this planet--there will always be this mental force from our free will that will give us mental blocks consisting of "outer forces" (which I guess you can refer to as sin and temptation) and keep us from breaking the bad habits that we have. In conclusion, it's all up in the head. There's no reality to superstitions and curses at all.

Now it's your turn. What do you think? Are they real? Is it a load of bullhockey?

The choices are yours and yours alone.


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