meet me in…


I’m going to say a word about superstitions, because anyone who follows sports – or this blog – knows that there is a game tonight that is quite possibly the biggest possible game in my emotional psyche. I’ll tell you how superstitious I am: I won’t even mention the contest, because the last time I did that on here, we lost to fucking Dook.

My obsessive-compulsive disorder threatened to derail my existence as a tiny tot. By age 5, I’d already categorized all the single-digit numbers in terms of personality, and used them all day to satisfy some bizarre trains of thought. In my head:

1 = alone

2 = love

3 = erased the last bad thing

4 = luck

5 = bad luck

6 = bad luck for others

7 = good luck for others

8 = saving grace meant for rare usage

9 = erased the last whole cadre of things

What does this mean? It meant that if I thought I’d said the wrong thing, I’d knock on something hard three times. If I wanted someone to win a contest, I’d close my eyes and look at them – without their knowledge – seven times. It got so bad that one day, in the mirror, I saw four lines drawn on my forehead. I soon deduced that I had parted my hair, but in a desire to be lucky, I did it four times while holding a felt-tip marker.

And that day, I decided it was over. No more of this obsessive-compulsive shit. I may have been crazy, but I had my vanity to consider. I was already in junior high.

Still, the numbers meme creeps into my life every once in a while. On a bad subway trip, I’ll catch myself doing some bizarre combination of the numbers above to assuage my worries. But falling in love with my college team provided a new outlet for all kinds of crazy obsessive superstition and ritual. I already mentioned the turtleneck I’ve worn to Dook games for fifteen years, but that’s just the tip of the psycho-sartorial iceberg. There’s all kinds of shit I’ve pulled in the last three weeks to get my team where it is now, weird combinations of sitting, undergarments, food and phone calls that recall a night 12 years ago.

I know it’s stupid, it’s “magical thinking” (which my shrink has been trying to get me to drop for years), I know I waste so much mental energy on this, even while I’m preparing for impending fatherhood. But if you don’t really, really, REALLY CARE about something irrational, then your life doesn’t have much meaning. Some people have church, some count beads on their glow-in-the-dark rosary, others form a wiccan circle and pour their menses into the earth.

I, and the rest of you who feel the same, have tonight.

0 thoughts on “meet me in…

  1. Just Andrew

    in the intrest of karma, all I will say is:
    Go Team!
    And keep Tessa calm, no labor til Tuesday at least.

  2. Killian

    wow–“psycho-sartorial iceberg!!!” I LOVE it!!
    All of us here in chapel hill are doing any NUMBER of those crazy things even as we speak (gotta say, though, the image of Tri-Delts offering up their menses for the National title is a bit bizarre. . . ), so we are RIGHT with you.
    My shrink is trying to get rid of “magic,” too—jeez, what IS it with theses spoilsports?
    Tonight we’re lookin’ for a little magic—-ain’t no shame in that.

  3. Greg from Winston Dorm

    Got to town (won’t say where, but it’s got a Franklin Street) mid-afternoon on Friday. Got to BUB’S to partake in the viewing of a certain event (a double-header actually) on Saturday at 10:15 A.M. This sticks with tradition because I got there early twelve years ago for something similar.
    Sunday I washed the clothes I was wearing Saturday night and later this morning (before arriving at BUB’S at 11:00 A.M.), I will go and pick out a jersey from a store on Franklin to wear, as I did twelve years ago.
    I hope to travel home to Atlanta with lots of new T-shirts and hats.

  4. Andrew

    I missed the first three games of the certain sporting event and, therefore, concluded that my NOT watching TV was the key to success. As a result, I have limited myself to halftime scores and final scores on TV.
    Because it is simply too stressful to watch, tonight I will just go to sleep. Somebody videotape it for me because I don’t know how to do it on mine.

  5. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    Wow. As a parent of a 5 year old, your description of the elaborate numbers association has rendered me speechless. Talk about a complex kid! Did you let your parents in on this magical thinking or was it your secret? Wow.
    God, I wish I was in Chapel Hill today. No one here in Maryland ever roots for our team (sour grapes), so I am a one woman cheering section, here in my cubicle.
    Um, I hope they have a big TV in the delivery room of the hospital.

  6. Tanya

    Ah! I wondered why we hadn’t heard anything about the boys in blue lately, esp. considering the, er, current state of things. I just figured you had another major, life-changing event on the mind. Hee!
    The entire family is dressed in Carolina blue today. I don’t know how those guys will actually dribble a ball tonight. I’m as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. If I had to be on a court playing for the whole enchilada, I doubt I’d be able to hit water if I fell out of a boat. Thank God I’m not the one out there tonight…Thank God Raymond is.

  7. Horvus Callithumper

    With no regard for my personal safety, during the winning Dook game I:
    1) chugged an obscene amount of beer
    2) forced down a painful number of chicken wings
    3) screamed bloody murder every time the sellout rat-faced bastard’s greasy mug appeared on the screen.
    God knows what act of self-immolation I’ll have to perform tonight.

  8. scruggs

    Its different when you don’t live in The Hill, or even in NC anymore. No one really cares. I want to walk around the office talking strategy and game plan, but there’s no outlet! I don’t know any Illinois folks so I can talk smack. Luckily, Atlanta has the largest UNC alum population outside of NC. We’ve just landed a sitter and will be at the sportsbar that is UNC HQ watching it with 300-400 of our brethren (minus Greg from Winston Dorm). If things work out, I’m storming Peachtree Road!

  9. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    Scruggs — you are so right! Too bad we don’t work together . . we could really cause a ruckus. My husband is a Maryland Terp, and he just does not share my Tar Heel enthusiasm as much as he should. Besides, he always watches big games with his best friends, one of whom went to Dook. For obvious reasons, they do not watch big games in MY house. . . it would be heresy to allow someone from Dook to eat my food, drink my booze, and be snide about my beloved Carolina.
    Anyway, I am so happy that the former glory is back! I might keep my daughter up to watch — indoctrinate her early!

  10. KJF

    as thanks for the many hours of enjoyment i have received from this blog since finding it back in november i will clap my hands seven times at the tipoff tonight. (and blink my eyes nine times every time i see one of those coach k kommercials).

  11. Gina

    I have on a light blue shirt, emblazoned with a basketball and the name of my favorite team on at work today. (My boss has not yet come in to laugh at my clothing selection – he still laughs about a get-up I wore just prior to the ACC tourney last year.)
    My son is wearing a light blue polo-style shirt with his snazzy 4T-sized wind suit from Johnny T-Shirt.
    I have loved, obessively and fully, this team for about 3 decades now. Tonight’s the night!

  12. Chris

    I’m Spartan alum (’87) who had to change the channel when my team utterly collapsed against your Heels. But I’m still going to root for UNC against Illinois because…what the hell is an Illini? To be honest, I don’t know what a Tar Heel is either…
    Rituals serve fundamental, universal needs. People deprived of beautiful and meaningful rituals that have been practiced over the centuries will tend to meet their needs with lesser, improvised ones. As one walks along the streets of Park Slope there are a number of places where beautiful and meaningful rituals are practiced by our neighbors in much the same way they have been for millennia. My wife and I are partial to a lovely place located at the corner of Carrol Street and 6th Avenue, originally founded by a gentleman named Peter.

  13. flaco

    odd personal numerology you have, but it works
    1 – UNC ALONE at #1
    It’s not magic it’s collective magnetic forces
    gravitons at work
    way to GO HEELS

  14. Alyson Peery

    I started reading your blog after the election in November. Now I read it because you’re funny, smart, interesting, and you believe in the religion of being a Tarheel. I was at He’s Not Here tonight and thought of you. It’s my first national championship in Chapel Hill, but it’s not my first game as a real fan. I celebrated tonight as much as I would have grieved if it had been different. Tarheel fans are completely different from any other fans in sports. I LOVE YOUR SUPERSTITION.

  15. Just Andrew

    National Champions. I’m so happy right now. Thought I should share.
    Tell Tessa she is now free to go into labor anytime.

  16. DB

    I feel great/bad about inducting someone into the madness. The wife (who went to a school that, while great academically, has jack for sports) actually insisted on watching the last five minutes with me. When she got up from the couch, I said “WAIT! They were winning with you here!” She promptly sat back down.
    Now that’s love.
    Or contagion. Not sure which.


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