The prelude to this post was one of my first posts ever: Day 8888.
In the semifinals of the Nebraska state high school boys basketball tournament, I was a junior in 2004, and my Knights had crushed Bellevue East 59-40 in the first round (quarterfinals). I was in the stands at the BOB, right behind the basket, as the semifinal against Bellevue West was back and forth the whole time. It was tied 48-48 late, and the Thunderbirds nailed a triple. Despite our best efforts, the equalizer missed, so that we got knocked out of the tournament with a 48-51 final.
The next year, the Knights had a tough game against Lincoln High, and the difficulty was exacerbated when Trent Price, one of the strong players on the team, went down with a leg injury in the game. Some of the people around me moaned, “there goes the season.” (We made it to state again, but bowed out in the first round against Creighton Prep). Indeed, that game was lost by the score of 48-51, and after the game, there was a Sweat Dance in the gym. After THAT, I returned to the parking lot… and my window was smashed out and a self-battery-jumper was stolen.
Therefore, I concluded that the score 48-51 was cursed.
In my sophomore year at UNL, the curse worked the opposite way. The Husker women were in a Veteran’s Day tournament in Arizona (I didn’t go, but listened to all the games), and took a 51-48 lead over #18 New Mexico in the third game of the tournament. We held on for a 66-59 win, so that evidently the curse works the opposite way.
And a few days later, a 51-48 lead against #20 Creighton on the men’s side was followed by super-efficient Husker shooting, en route to a 73-61 win and a storming of the BOB’s court… not bad for having lost in an exhibition game a couple weeks beforehand to SIU-Edwardsville, which was D-II at the time!
These are only a few examples of when The Curse has come in. However, in my experience, there have been two ways to dispel The Curse in games that I have seen. (Both have resulted in my team dispelling The Curse.)
1) The miracle last-second shot. Exhibit A: Huskers vs. Red Raiders, 2007 (below).
2) Tying the score at 51-51. (Just scoring a two hasn’t dispelled The Curse when I’ve seen it). Two examples of this are salient, both with Northwestern winning:
A) Last year, the ‘Cats women’s team trailed Tennessee-Martin by 48-51. After a few empty possessions on both sides, the ‘Cats nailed a three, and went on to win 79-69.
B) Yesterday (and this is why I wrote the post), the ‘Cats men’s team had gone to overtime against Purdue with the score 46’s. The Boilermakers scored the first field goal, and chipped in three free throws after we tied it at 48. But, on our next possession, Tre Demps got the “DEPOSIT!” (Seth Bernstein) or “YOU BETCHA!” (Matt Coatney) or “GOT IT!” (Kent Pavelka) with 1:30 left. We went to another overtime, and the ‘Cats pulled out a 63-60 triumph!
Although I am not superstitious, I am very conscious of patterns. But here, it is probably just confirmation bias.
Today is the twenty-second day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes three weeks and one day.