Go Blackhawks: Sports, superstitions and staying up late

In the 1970s and 1980s, my family had the standard assortment of appliances and aesthetically questionable decor. There was our harvest gold refrigerator and blue bathtub. Pong was undoubtedly the most technologically advanced game ever manufactured. And most telling of all was the era-exclusive, wooden-encased television. Classy.

To be clear, we had one television. One.

With six people constantly battling to watch their favorite shows, I was the low kid on the totem pole. It was quite the coup whenever I actually caught an episode of “Donny and Marie” or “Speed Racer.”

Despite my preferences for variety shows and cartoons, the prevailing programming in our home was sports. My two brothers and father would plead their case to watch “the big game” every other day. Consequently, I bid adieu to “Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters” and morphed into a sports enthusiast myself. I cheered both the Cubs and the Sox. I was devastated when Walter Payton was denied a touchdown in Super Bowl XX. And in 1995, I missed the only class of my entire college career in order to watch the coverage of Michael Jordan’s glorious return to basketball.

I had no idea that this love of sports would one day help “score” me a husband. This fact was discovered only after Joe and I had been married several years. We were in the middle of a particularly tense period where I was an insufferable beast due to hormones and back-to-back babies. Joe set me off one day with something as grievous as “Where are the diapers?”

I shouted back, “Why did you even MARRY me if you think I’m so inept?”

Without missing a beat, Joe responded simply, “You liked sports.”

I know there are plenty of superstitious and ritualistic fans out there who firmly believe the destiny of their team rests with them. If they don’t sit on the right couch, wear their 20-year-old jersey, or eat an exact combination of Nachos and Oreos, all hope is lost. I would like to say to those people rooting for the Blackhawks tonight:

I got this one.

With a do-or-die Game 7 tonight, I am in sole possession of the precise key to victory.

My son Jack.

It all started with Game #5 and the possible end of the Blackhawks’ season. When the opportunity to buy a pair of tickets came up, I pounced. My husband had been making the playoffs painful. He screamed, cursed the fates, and threw things at the television. He was in utter disbelief that this most prodigious of teams, the very one that had so dominated the regular season, was now self-destructing at record pace.

But worst then that?

My husband was destroying my happy mojo.

Happy mojos win games. It is a proven fact. I’ll write a research paper on it one day.

Anyway, I needed to get the guy out of the house. So I sent my lucky child with him – it would be Jack’s first Blackhawks game. For the record, my middle son is also the kid who wins every raffle, always gets picked by the teacher to “go first,” and who will one day be chosen to carry the Olympic Torch.

The Hawks dominated Game #5, and I knew Jack was the reason. It was as clear as the crow’s feet on my face.

For Game #6, I pushed my husband out the door to go watch the game with friends. There would be no stealing my happy mojo. Not with so much on the line.

Yet going into the third period, the Hawks were down a goal and the momentum was with Detroit. I deduced that Jack being asleep was impacting the outcome of the game. I needed to awaken my little rabbit’s foot. I headed upstairs to his room and found Jack sleeping soundly, clasping his “rally rag” from Game #5 tightly in his hands. With only the slightest of jostles (“WAKE UP, JACK! WANNA WATCH THE GAME WITH MOMMY?!?”), Jack crawled out of bed and we headed downstairs.

No sooner did our feet touch the first floor than the Hawks scored. Then there was another one. The team would go on to win 4-3 with an improbable Game #7 tonight.

I’ve firmed up plans. Joe will be evicted. And Jack has been offered Red Bull by other local superfans so as not to miss a single minute of the game.

Of course, I won’t really be giving my 7-year-old Red Bull.

But I’m not opposed to a little coffee.

Go Hawks!

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