Tag Archives: superstitions

The end of Cleveland sports fatalism?

Amish boys, celebration

A local pizza shop in Fredericksburg, Ohio stayed open late so young Amish boys could watch the deciding game seven of the NBA playoffs. This photo posted on social media shows the boys cheering as the Cavs beat the Warriors.

By Bruce Stambaugh

Maybe this is the end of the strangling fatalism that sports fans of Cleveland’s three professional teams have endured for far too long.

“This” references the recent, glorious victory by the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Golden State Warriors that made the Cavs the National Basketball Association (NBA) Champions for 2016.

I know. In today’s fast-paced era of instant information, this fact is old news. But without that introduction, the rest of what I have to say wouldn’t make much sense.

First of all, I couldn’t bear to watch the game. I don’t follow the NBA much anyhow. I wasn’t about to jinx the Cavs by watching the deciding game.

However, when the alert on my wife’s smartphone reported that the Cavs had won, we bolted out of bed and turned on the TV to watch the post-game celebration. It was worth the missed minutes of sleep.

I was impressed with the genuine tears of joy and relief shed by all the players and the head coach. They clearly understood what that precious moment meant to all Cleveland sports fans everywhere. I teared up, too.

miracles

MiraCLEs do happen.

It meant the world to us. It said that after 52 years of hope, frustration, disappointment, and despair that Cleveland had finally broken the infamous, self-induced curse of losing. Of course, such a thing never existed. It just seemed so.

The Cleveland Browns were the last of the three professional sports teams to win a world championship. That was in January 1964. I remember it well because I was at that game as an excited 16-year-old, having had my name drawn in a lottery to purchase tickets.

The Browns won the National Football League Championship with a 27 – 0 win over the Baltimore Colts. They played the game in old, cavernous Municipal Stadium in sub-zero conditions. It was pro football’s super bowl before pro football officially had a Super Bowl.

I couldn’t have imagined then that that victory would be the last championship for a Cleveland sports team until the Cavs’ Father’s Day win. Since 1964, followers of Cleveland’s pro sports have had to endure a lot of disappointments to the point of being fatalistic.

No matter how good any of the three teams were, something silly, even unimaginable, was sure to happen as if the sports Gods had it in for the poor city whose river once caught on fire. I was there for that, too.

During that depressing stretch, fans of the Cavs, the Browns, and the Indians had seen it all. For the Cavs, it was Michael Jordan on far too many occasions.

For the Browns, it was The Drive, The Fumble, and The Move, when Art Model secretly transported the team to Baltimore. The Colts had previously shuffled off to Indianapolis.

For the Indians, it was Jose Mesa in the ninth inning of game seven of the 1997 World Series. They haven’t been close to a championship since.

But the Cavs have permanently corked that bottle of bad luck. Since I froze my nose in 1964, Cleveland finally has another world champion. Thanks to fatalism’s firm grip, I still can’t believe it.

Has this great victory killed the Cleveland sports jinx? Will folks simply get on with life without this fatalistic outlook about never being able to win? I sure hope so.

I do know this. When the Cleveland Indians defeat the Chicago Cubs for the World Series win this fall, I’ll be entirely, positively, wonderfully convinced.

fireworks, baseball, Progressive Field, Cleveland Indians

Someday fireworks will explode in celebration of an Indians World Series championship. Someday, maybe this year. © Bruce Stambaugh 2014.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2016

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2012 calendar looks to be a bit on the crazy side

Eerie sunset by Bruce Stambaugh
By Bruce Stambaugh

We were having a right nice 2012 until January 13th arrived. Of course, it was a Friday, the day the first disruptive snowstorm of the season hit the northeast Ohio area.

Forsythia by Bruce StambaughUntil then, the winter weather had been more like early spring. People reported dandelions and forsythia blooming. I even saw a pussy willow bush ready to open. One person bragged about mowing the lawn at the end of December.

Then along came Friday the 13th. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not blaming the snowstorm on that supposedly superstitious day. In fact I’m not even superstitious, knock on wood.

I had to wonder though if this was going to be the first of several goofy events, either natural or human induced, to occur in 2012. I’m only thinking this because of the way the year’s universal calendar plays out.

Besides the Friday the 13th snowstorm, this is also a leap year. People born on February 29 will finally get to celebrate their Birthday by Bruce Stambaughbirthdays again. February, the shortest month of the year even with Leap Day, has five Wednesdays this year. September has its usual 30 days, and five of them are Sundays.

Of the 12 months, three begin on a Sunday, one on a Monday, one on a Tuesday, two on a Wednesday, two on a Thursday, one on a Friday and two on a Saturday. I think we can thank the Leap Year phenomenon again for making sure no day got ignored.

Other oddities include Washington’s Birthday and Ash Wednesday coinciding. April Fools’ Day and Palm Sunday share the same date. A full moon occurs on Good Friday. August is the only month that has two full moons, August 2 and 31. September’s full moon also occurs on the last day of the month.

Unless you have been hiding in a cave, you have long figured out that 2012 is also a presidential election year. Given the candidates performances so far, that alone would make 2012 a bit tilted.
Flag and bunting by Bruce Stambaugh
To add to the calendar party, we have to mention the Mayan calendar references December 21 as being the day the world ends. That day just happens to be this year’s winter solstice. Maybe we won’t have to worry about winter anymore.

Of course, as we learned last year and a thousand times before, the Mayans can’t claim title to announcing the end of time. Harold Camping still has some explaining to do from last year’s fruitless end-times predictions.

Playing off the fears of an already unsettled global society, the goofiness goes on. For instance, one claim for this year is that a previously unknown planet will hit Earth. Right, and the Cleveland Indians will beat the Chicago Cubs in the World Series thanks to an assist by Steve Bartman.

Another oddball prediction has the Earth’s magnetic poles switching places, sparked by a series of solar storms. Better stock up on sunscreen before the prices go up.

Number 13 by Bruce StambaughThere is yet one more piece of information that just might sway you to cash in all your stocks, sell your property and give the proceeds to a respectable charity. Of course it involves Friday the 13th. There are three of them in 2012, January 13, April 13 and July 13.

That in itself may not be so statistically unusual until you hear what my friend, Mic, discovered. The three Friday the 13ths are each 13 weeks apart.

To quote my good friend, “Be forewarned.”

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