Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We're still back

If you pay attention to this blog at all, you may have noticed that it's been hit with a bad case of writer's block. I wanted to break out of this by coming up with a totally awesome first round playoff preview, but then I realized the Wings were playing the Coyotes in the first round again, and I'd already put six hours into doing that once before, and really, really did not want to do it again.

So in these last few hours before opening faceoff, while you're boiling your octopi, setting up your shrines, and preparing your voodoo effigies of Shane Doan and Keith Yandle, I'll say a little something about playoff superstitions.

One of my favorite stories in the realm of hockey lore is that when Red Kelly was coaching the Maple Leafs in 1976, he used Pyramid Power to try to help them get through the playoffs.

yeah, seriously, he did this

He had pyramids underneath the bench during games. He had one in the locker room that Darryl Sittler (also a proponent of lucky ties) kept his sticks under. It only got the team to game 7 in the second round, and it was probably more the distraction of the gimmick than actual ancient Egyptian metaphysics that the Leafs were benefiting from, but at least it helped distract them from then-owner Harold Ballard and his craziness.

Plus, I've done some way weirder stuff than Pyramid Power to appease the hockey gods. Things involving magical sunglasses and hockey cards in my freezer.

Fan culture is a weird thing, and it makes people do weird things. Rationally, I know that changing my clothes in the middle of a hockey game taking place on the other side of the country is really unlikely to have any effect on the game itself, but I keep the lucky shirt on anyway. Why? Because then if they win, I can feel like I was part of it. If they lose, I can absolve myself of any blame; I did everything I could. And at a time when my fragile emotional state is being controlled by people I never met and the unpredictable bounce of a three-ounce chunk of vulcanized rubber, it tricks my brain into thinking I have some kind of control over the situation so I don't completely lose my mind and end up in an institution.

Also, my lucky shirt's got a record of like 12-3-4 this season, so it might actually be lucky.

Although, right now I'm weighing it's perceived luckiness against how much I don't want to get vomit all over it when I spend the entire game puking.