Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I don’t believe in jinxes. So which one of you is at fault.

As part of my post-mortum depression therapy, I found the courage to turn on the television around 6:30 p.m. Sunday night, just in time to discover that the Baltimore Ravens have male cheerleaders. That made me smile for the first time all day.
I believed all season. When they couldn't hit in April and when they couldn't hit in October, I just knew they would find a way to make the playoffs and make October special again.
If you read my columns on regular basis, then you know I don't believe in superstitions. (Knock on wood.)
When the Indians lost the series opener to Tampa Bay, the next day my co-workers Kevin and Michelle called me a jinx. Michelle, who I like to call Shelly in order to aggravate her, went so far as to point out that she had yet to see the Indians lose in person this season.
So when my friend Tommy the mailman couldn't go to the game that night, I gave the ticket to Ms. never-seen-them-lose. Down 1-0 in the ninth, Coco Crisp singled to start the inning with the heart of our order due up. Then she said it, "We are going to win this ga……"
Before she finished the sentence, double play rally over. I almost made her find her own ride home. There are things you just don't say aloud. The next night one-loss-Shelly was out and my mom was in. She brought a win too. Why I didn't skip my high school football game Friday night to get mom down to the Jake is something I will have to live with all winter.
Almost everyone has their own traditions and lucky hats/socks/underwear/sitting position. Everyone is convinced that what happens off the field affects on the field. Hence after attending the Indians first three losses of the homestand and skipping the one win, my friend John Granzier, owner of the best bar in Lakewood, Merry Arts and part owner of the Clevelander (conveniently located next to the Jake and the Q) took one for the team and stayed home Saturday. (You weren't the jinx- Granny.)
If anyone was the jinx to the Indians' sudden fall from grace this week, it was Dirty Kurt. He is a part-time employee at WTAM. Whenever he ran the board at the station during the games, the Indians seemed to win. I think at one point there was something like ten in a row. It got to the point where Mike Trivisonno insisted the part-time employee work every game the rest of the season regardless of the budget hit.
It sounded good at the time but then came Dirty Kurt t-shirts, on air promos and eventually towels. Commercialism always dirties innocence. As the Dirty Kurt phenom took off, the losses started to mount. It took until Sunday to get him off the board or five one run losses too late.
This may all sound silly to you, but apparently it works in high school football too as the most surreal experience happened to me Friday night. As you read here in West Life last week, Olmsted Falls knocked off Amherst in double overtime in large part to the heroics of junior quarterback Tyler Sparks. Apparently, Sparks got banged up on the final play of the game and his injury kept him out of the Avon Lake game. The Bulldogs got a solid effort from backup Ben Vedda, but fell short to the Shoremen 24-14.
So I am standing on the sidelines as the final seconds counted down prepared to catch my needed interviews as quickly as possible hoping to catch the end of the Tribe game on the radio. And then an Olmsted Falls assistant coach walked over to me and said, "Your interview with Tyler is the reason he got injured."
I couldn't believe it- even if he was joking (and he didn't say it laughing) I was stunned. This assistant was pinning their loss on me giving a heroic high school player some ink. In the coach’s defense, there were five other reporters at the game and I was the only one to track down Sparks for an interview. So you can't blame the media —just me.
I know Coach Ryan won’t blame me for the injury but I do fear that Bulldog basketball coach Pat Donahue may now ban me from his locker room. If you have seen Sparks play basketball you may also agree to this drastic measure.
But then again, Shelly is an Olmsted Falls graduate so maybe she can start going to her alma matter's sporting events. As long as she keeps silent, it should work out well.