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Blue Jays’ success brings out superstitious side of fans

Blue Jays’ success brings out superstitious side of fans

Posted by PanamericanWorld on September 23, 2015

Nobody needs to be reminded of how long it’s been since the Toronto Blue Jays played games of some consequence like the ones we’ve seen in recent weeks. That’s been well established.

But it has been long enough that we might have forgotten the effect that these sorts of games have on your psyche, your sense of decorum, your understanding of the universe, and more to the point, your ability to control it.

The very nature of sports fandom dictates that you invest emotionally in something far beyond your control, which, if you really think about it, makes it a terrible way to relax and unwind at the end of the day. Such powerlessness in the face of something to which you’ve ascribed so much meaning can’t be dealt with in any sort of rational manner, and as a result, many of us are becoming acquainted on a nightly basis with new and profoundly felt superstitions.

Even those of us who have approached the game – or life in general – with our nose in the numbers or with a sense of rational objectivity can feel ourselves becoming subsumed by the duress of the tense moments in these game, and giving ourselves over to completely absurd teleological claims that our own mundane actions might somehow affect the action on the field.

Certainly, some people are more given to superstitions than other, and lucky socks and totems might be the norm, along with running dialogues with the baseball gods. Moreover, some superstitions are universal, and codified in the unwritten rules of the game, such as the impropriety of publicly identifying the possibility of a no-hitter while it is still in progress, or the power of rally caps. Curses of goats and Bambinos litter baseball’s history books.

It’s illogical and preposterous, but what else can we do as fans? How else can we cope with the strain of these maddeningly beautiful moments? And in the recent series against the New York Yankees, I’ve had an almost constant barrage of anxiety over the games, which has manifested itself in moments of self-doubt over the most pedestrian of matters.

What shirt should I wear? Is it bad luck to wear a Casey Janssen shirsey? Should I avoid the old logos? Is my powder blue jersey an inauspicious choice given what became of the 1987 Blue Jays?

Wait a second: What about my socks and underwear. Are they the wrong colours? If I wear red socks when the Jays play the Red Sox, is it my fault if the Jays lose?

Which cap should a wear? Did the Jays lose when I wore my batting practice maple leaf cap? Can I wear the old cap with the white panel? Surely, I shouldn’t even consider pulling the T-Bird cap on…unless, didn’t they trade for Troy Tulowitzki the last time I wore it? And what do I do with the Mets cap that I purchased recently? Can I even wear it until the end of the season? Because what happens if the Jays meet the Mets in the World Series, and I was trotting about with Mr. Met on my head a few weeks previous?

Then again, am I angering the universe by burying that Mets cap in a pile of clothes? Maybe, but isn’t it bad luck if I put it with the rest of my caps?

And is this beer that I’m about to choose from the fridge in any way a bad omen? Can I scan my brain and find any relationship between this Czech beer and the Yankees? I’m sure there isn’t, but just to be sure, I’ll have the other brand of beer in the fridge. Oh no! There’s a billboard for the other beer at Yankee Stadium! Do I pour it out, or can I talk myself into the idea that this is actually good luck for the Blue Jays?

And all of this is to say nothing of the things that you can’t say out loud or tweet, for fear that your words will somehow curse the team.

Speaking of which, when I mentioned superstitions on Twitter this week, my mentions were filled with both active superstitions – lucky undies, lucky ballcaps, lucky shirts, cigarette rituals, dressing children in lucky outfits – as well as aversion superstitions, such as not wearing certain jerseys or taking down car flags so as not to inadvertently hex the team.

This phenomenon is probably most acutely felt at home, on our own couches, because the further you are away from the action, the more demented you need to be to believe that you can change to course of history through your own humdrum behaviours. At least fans in the stands have some sense that the players on the field can hear them and their encouragement, and that standing and cheering will create enough positive vibes to push the players to perform.

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