I say I’m not superstitious, and during the regular season, denied any part of me that thrived on a specific ritual related to my hockey fandom. And mostly, I think that was true, but for the past two weeks, I’m finding myself leaning to the crazy side when it comes to the playoffs.
The most common and recognizable playoff tradition that many players take part in is of course the playoff beard, and after a long run into the post season, some beards can get to be pretty epic. Mike Commodore’s Stanley Cup ‘fro and beard is still considered to be one of the best in playoff history. Canadian Junior teams (and apparently NCAA teams, as well) often bleach their hair blond during the post season, a tradition that Justin Faulk took part in during University of Minesotta – Duluth’s recent Frozen Four championship. The majority of our players were sporting pretty incredible beards last night… ok, majority not including Zac Dalpe, I guess.
Some players have weird rituals that intensify during the playoffs. Sidney Crosby has the same jock strap he’s worn since he was in junior (I am SO GLAD I’m not the equipment manager that has to care for that piece of history, yikes!). Crosby also eats the same peanut butter and jelly sandwich, prepared in the same order, with the same brand of PB&J for each before each and every game, and has a ritualized route from the parking area to the dressing room that takes him through the corridors of the arena in Pittsburgh in a way that he doesn’t have to pass the visiting team’s dressing room. So what may start as one tiny, little ritual, can quickly blow out of proportion into a full-fledged case of the crazies (*cough*Sidney Crosby *cough*).
I always said I’d never be “that fan” who takes personal superstitions too seriously. But then it happened. Last week, something hit close to home as I was watching game seven of the Tampa Bay – Pittsburgh series, when the announcers pointed out that Guy Boucher was wearing the same suit that he’d worn during the past two Tampa Bay victories in the series. (We’re talking same suit, tie and shirt…. head to toe, identical). At first I thought, oh, man, what a nutter… the same suit? That doesn’t bring luck…. and then I looked down at what I was wearing… and realized that for almost two consecutive weeks, I’d worn a different Checkers t shirt or jersey, or even the “lucky” socks I knit in red, black and silvery yarn, even when it wasn’t a game day. I even bought a couple of new t shirts at the home games vs. Hershey, to expand my wardrobe since I found myself wearing a Checkers tshirt every day. So am I turning into a playoff crazy? Last weekend, before heading to work at the theater, I almost panicked when I realized I wasn’t wearing anything red or Checkers themed. You see, standard dress for my job is “stage blacks”, but I was not going to let the rules get me down, so I grabbed my black third jersey, and wore it as I ran the lightboard for the evening’s performance. (Hey, it’s mostly black, right? Close enough…)
Last night, my seat mate and I traded tickets for the second game in a row, since the first time we traded, it resulted in a win by the Checkers. After the game last night, we’ve decided we have to wear the same jerseys, same everything, for the game tomorrow. It’s getting crazy, Charlotte!
So what other rituals do y’all participate in? I have a friend who won’t watch the games during the playoffs, because she thinks she jinxes her team. Friends who drink or eat the same thing while watching… stuff like that.
Lets Go Checkers!