Sowing the Seeds
I am a man of facts, numbers and proof. I try to be observant and inquiring, and try always to avoid making judgments without first knowing as much as possible about a situation. I am comfortable with things I can see and/or measure. I hold two degrees from NC State, both of which are based in the hard sciences. It is for these reasons that most people who haven’t known me very long are surprised when they find out that I’m nuts.
When NC State won it’s first national championship in 1974, I was but a wee lad of seven years. I was old enough to remember the game, though that memory becomes more fuzzy with each passing year. I was old enough to feel the tension during the game, and the joy when the final buzzer sounded. I was not, however, old enough to have developed a sense of superstition at that age, nor a sense of self-satisfaction in having helped pull the Pack through a tough battle.
A mere nine years later, that had all changed.
Give me Cheez-its or Give me Death
In March of 1983, just when spring was about to spring, I was a 16 year old who thought chiefly about what most 16 year olds think about. I had a steady girlfriend and had only been driving for barely three months. Despite this hormonally stacked deck, on that Friday night in mid-March when the Pack survived a scare against Pepperdine in double OT, I was sitting at home with my father (also an NCSU alum), watching the game from the far right side of our couch, eating Cheez-its and drinking Dr. Pepper. This is significant.
Earlier, the aforementioned girlfriend had been none too happy when I informed her of my intention to stay home on a Friday night and watch a ballgame. I explained to her as best I could that it wasn’t up for discussion because I had no choice in the matter. This did not appease her and when I would not budge, it became a very big issue.
In my defense, she was being unreasonable. She couldn’t understand that I didn’t just want to watch a game. I had a duty to watch the game and do my part to help pull the team to victory. She was unmoved when I explained that I had been in that exact spot on that exact couch for three straight days the previous weekend, eating Cheez-its and drinking Dr. Pepper. It made no difference to her whatsoever when I further explained that if I was not in that spot and we lost, that I’d never be able to live with myself and I’d never be able to live with her. As it turned out, the latter quickly proved to be not so much of a problem.
Even though the proof was in the pudding and I was vindicated when the Pack not only survived Pepperdine that night, but also squeaked past a powerful UNLV squad on a last second tip in two days later, the damage was done. She dumped me to find someone else. Someone “who was sane”, or something like that. I wasn’t really listening. But to this day, whenever the Pack is playing in the postseason, the Dr. Pepper and Cheez-it people love me.
Of Like Mind
Over the years I’ve seen lots of different fans practicing lots of different superstitions. Keeping the same seat placement is a big one, as are food and drink choices. Fan attire is right up there too.
The most interesting and entertaining (to me at least) are the ones that are most unique. Usually, these seem to be some sort of hand gesture or body language/positioning at particular junctures of the game itself, especially during free throw attempts by the opposition. Other times, it has to do with a series of tasks, behaviors or even rituals, which must be accomplished before or during the game, lest the basketball gods be displeased.
Now, I know most of you are like me. While our rational and scientifically trained minds tell us that superstitions are exactly that, our hearts know the truth. We have no choice in the matter. We’re all at least a little bit nuts.
So, what are some of your superstitions that you rightfully refuse to abandon, despite your brain’s best efforts? What are some of the more interesting or outrageous rituals you’ve observed from other fans?
**Please be sure to make your way over to the SFN Forums to keep from missing out on some of the best NCSU-centric conversation anywhere on the web. Also, with all the new and original material hitting the front page here on the main blog, be sure to scroll down and take a look at some of the previous entries to be sure you don’t miss any of the sweet sixteen fun!