You’ll hear it time and time again from the majority of fans:
“I’m not usually superstitious.”
Or a variation:
“I’m not superstitious until it comes to the playoffs.”
It’s a mental thing we cannot help, no matter what we try. Like Winging It In Motown stated, it makes us feel like a part of the team. Something we do that creates a positive result in the game makes something click in our mind and we think to ourselves, “Oh, okay. If I keep doing this, good things will keep happening.” Plus, it’s much easier to blame ourselves for the downfall of the team rather than the team itself.
It’s not rational thinking at all. We know deep down that it doesn’t matter where we sit during a game. Or what we eat. Or what we wear. But we can’t bring ourselves to change.
My superstitions seriously started in the 2008 Stanley Cup run. For the first four games in the first round against the Nashville Predators, I wore my Steve Yzerman jersey. After the back-to-back losses in Games Three and Four, my brothers banned me from wearing the jersey, claiming it was the reason we kept losing. So I hung it up on a hanger in my closet.
And the Red Wings won nine straight games, sweeping the Colorado Avalanche and coming within one game of sweeping the Dallas Stars.
My brothers and I even went to Game One against Dallas in the Western Conference Finals and I had to beg and plead with my neighbor to let me wear his Russian Pavel Datsyuk jersey to the game. “I can’t wear Yzerman!” I remember saying on his back porch as he glared at me. I couldn’t go to a game without a jersey on, and Yzerman was my only jersey at the time. “And I need a Red Wings jersey to wear!”
Since then, my Yzerman jersey is the last jersey I choose to wear when it comes to the playoffs. I just can’t risk it again.
The Stanley Cup Finals that year included ingesting a lot of Andy Capp’s Hot Fries. Why? Because in Game Four in Pittsburgh, the Red Wings weren’t doing so hot. My brothers and I started eating Hot Fries, our mouths burning, and the Red Wings started scoring and inevitably won the game.
In Game Seven of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals, we ran out to 7-Eleven during one of the intermissions to buy Hot Fries in hopes that it would help the Red Wings overcome the two-goal deficit. They at least got us a Jonathan Ericsson goal.
I believe it was Game Five in the 2009 Finals when my brothers and I were at our friend’s house watching the game in his home movie theater. Our friend’s younger brother was also there watching the game with us and he was sitting in my usual spot, so I sat someplace else. And after Pittsburgh took another lead, our friend said to his younger brother, dead serious, “Georgi… please switch seats with Christy.”
It’s experiences like these that bond us in the brother/sisterhood of hockey. We can sit in bars and watch games and talk to complete strangers about our crazy traditions and superstitions. And not many people will sit there and tell us we’re stupid for doing any of it. In fact, many people agree.
Superstitions are a silly thing, but they are part of the heart and soul of our love for the sport.
So what are your superstitions? How many other people have crazy things like me that they do? This is a no judgment zone. Fire away!