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Thursday, March 14, 2013
Redeeming sports through power of jinxing

By Steve Etheridge
Special to ESPN.com

Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez is the best, and here's hoping to many more wonderful years!
So, uh, I've got a confession to make.

Remember the Blackhawks’ 24-game point streak? The longest such streak to start a season in the history of the NHL?

Well, um, I ruined that.

Last Thursday I wrote a lengthy column about the streak, celebrating the Hawks’ ability to MacGyver a win out of any conceivable game scenario. I spent more than a thousand words exalting them as unconquerable ice deities who would blast their opponents aside like a fire hose to ducklings and make a gingerly stroll to a Stanley Cup victory.

And this, of course, jinxed them.

The very next day, they lost to the exceedingly mediocre Avalanche after giving up roughly 73 goals. And in their next game, they were vanquished by the bottom-of-the-conference Oilers, once again allowing roughly 73 goals.

Now they are the worst professional sports team that humankind has ever known, and it’s all my fault.

But while I’m horrified to have derailed one of the most sensational sports stories of the year, I’m also feeling empowered. As Spider-Man once said, “With great power comes inevitable yet amusing abuses of that power, like using my web to draw glasses on old people sitting across from me on public transportation.”

Applied to my own life, this means I can harness my jinxing powers to put the kibosh on everything I find mildly upsetting about sports. All I gotta do is heap praise on whatever’s bugging me, and within two business days or so it will simply stop happening. That’s how jinxing works.

So I think I’ll go ahead and do that now. And if it goes as planned, maybe next week I’ll get around to poverty and war and stuff.

Floyd Mayweather’s undefeated streak

No one will ever defeat Floyd Mayweather. I am certain of it. Even if Muhammad Ali in his prime had metal arms and Jaws as a tag-team partner, he would still be no match for Floyd Mayweather, because no one can ever be better at him than anything, including being a role model. He is a national treasure, and it would be a real shame if for some reason he were to suddenly turn into a mound of day-old Arby’s roast beef or something equally humiliating.

JumboTron proposals

Can there be a purer expression of love than when a man requests an eternal union with a woman on a colossal TV screen while 30,000 strangers shake their heads and mutter, “That poor girl”? There cannot! One can only fathom how hopeful a woman feels when the Oscar Meyer Deli Meat Dash ends and then suddenly, on that very screen, there is a seven-word solicitation for her entire life with the thoughtful man who just spilled an $8 beer in her lap while lunging for a foul ball. This, dear readers, is the firmest foundation for a healthy marriage.

Flopping

Terrific! Ha-ha! Nothing enhances the quality of a sport quite like a little bit of theater, am I right? Anderson Varejao, you are a Shakespearean actor of the highest order. Bravo, sir.

Lance Armstrong being a talking point

Americans care a tremendous deal about cycling, as evidenced by how we all know the names of loads of professional cyclists, like, uh, Henry Handlebar and, er, um, Dave Bikeguy. Hence, it only makes sense that we’re still giving obscene amounts of attention to Lance Armstrong and his misdeeds. So let’s continue to hurl our anger at him, as it is very fulfilling to hurl anger at a cancer survivor who might’ve cheated but also raised millions of dollars to help other people affected by cancer. Hopefully we’ll continue to hear about him for decades and decades to come.

Athletes dressing like nerds

After many millennia of ruthless dork oppression, it’s soooooooo great to see athletes finally warming up to nerd culture. Sure, it’d be nice if they paid some reparations, perhaps in the form of supermodel groupies, but honestly, the real reward is in seeing guys like Russell Westbrook wearing flowery little Urkel shirts and big dweeby glasses. It’s like if Genghis Khan were to follow up his massacres by wearing the traditional tunics of the vanquished populations. Just a really touching gesture, y’know?

BCS polls

[Ardently slaps forearms together like a seal to express in ways that words cannot just how wonderful and rational the BCS polls truly are.]

Alex Rodriguez

Great guy. Just a great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great guy. Karma will reward him richly for being such an upstanding fellow. Definitely won’t be reincarnated as a used Band-Aid or anything like that. And you gotta figure that once that hip heals up (without the aid of banned substances, of course), he’ll be hittin’ dingers for another 10 years. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that he doesn’t dwindle into obscurity and/or get cartoon squashed by a gigantic anvil.

Athletes making parody videos

These videos just NEVER. GET. OLD. Whether it’s “Gangnam Style” or “Harlem Shake,” my idea of a perfect day is to pry my eyes open “Clockwork Orange”-style and watch dozens upon dozens of athlete parody videos until I laugh myself unconscious. If this athlete parody video craze ever comes to an end, you’ll find me lying naked and alone in the darkness of my closet, slowly forfeiting the will to live, because I just can’t imagine life without them.

Roger Goodell and Gary Bettman

Eh. I got nothing. Can’t feign any enthusiasm here. But honestly, I don’t really believe in jinxing, anyway. Perhaps we could find another way to get rid of them. Like, maybe we could swap their monogrammed cuffs with ordinary cuffs so they’re too ashamed to go out in public again. Or leave a sign outside a closet that reads “POOR PEOPLE GETTING CONCUSSED INSIDE! HILARIOUS!” and then lock the door behind them when they go in. We need some solid strategies. If you have any ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments.