Athletes, it seems, are a superstitious lot. I sort of knew this becuase I've seen the NHL teams who make it to the Stanley Cup playoffs not shave for the duration. I've seen cyclists cross themselves before the start of a stage in a race. I've also heard about players from various sports who have very specific rituals before they play, including things like putting their shoes/cleats/skates on in a certain order.
I'm mildly superstitious. I'm not too thrilled when a black cat crosses my path (When I was in 5th grade, we were on Spring Break in Washington, D.C. and a black cat ran in front of us as we were walking back to our car after dinner. About 10 minutes later, we had a car accident). I don't walk under ladders (that seems more like common sense than superstition), I don't open umbrellas in the house, and I throw salt over my left shoulder when I spill it. Yes, I actually do that.
Now I'm taking my neuroses to a whole new level and applying it to Declan's hockey.
Declan is in his second year of playing competitive travel hockey. He is the goalie. It is stressful to watch. Last year, his team went 10 - 0 in regular season play and then won the league at playoffs, but they did it the hard way--by losing one of their games to a team they'd beaten about 10 times and having to play an extra game to win the whole shebang. I stood next to one particular mom for the playoffs...except for the one game they lost. And so we decided that it was because we hadn't stood together that the boys lost (apparently ignoring the fact that the team didn't play particularly well) and we'd better not take that chance again. We became like Siamese twins for the duration of playoffs. And they won.
Fast forward to this year. The boys have won all of the regular season games so far and have only lost one at a tournament. Not that there haven't been some close calls. (And there are still four months of the season to go)
Take this weekend for instance. Our hockey club was hosting a tournament. Tournaments usually start on Fridays to get all the games in. The kids usually miss school for it. They are crushed, as you can imagine.
Anyway, Friday morning found us at the rink. As did Friday afternoon. They sort of got by in the morning game, winning 1 - 0. They won handily in the afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised by all of this because we were playing some Denver teams who are normally extremely competitive.
Saturday morning--6 a.m. game. (And I would like to note here that this isn't the earliest the team has ever played) I dragged myself (and a protesting Finn) out of bed (Eamonn and Declan had left at 5 a.m.!) and slogged over to the rink (fortunately it was the rink right near our house) wearing sweats and...the same socks I'd had on the day before. Now, before you go getting all grossed out, I do this often--wearing some aspect of the day before's clothes again. Why? My reasons are many, but chief among them:
-I get tired of doing laundry.
-With boys in sports, a husband in construction, and me exercising 5 - 6 times a week, we generate a lot of laundry.
-The air is dry out here, people. Really, really dry. So things that might normally make you sweaty and smelly might not produce such results out here.
-And I might be a little lazy.
Trust me, I did check the socks before I put them on again. They didn't stink so I was OK with it. Plus, I went in my sweats because it was so early. I intended to go home and beautify myself and wear actual clothes for the afternoon game at the up valley rink.
Over the course of the game (they won easily), I started talking to another mother and I confessed that my living room is the locker room for everyone who plays hockey in our house (which is everyone except me). You recall the blog post from last week, I'm sure. So the other mom laughed and said as soon as the kids got body odor, that would come from a screeching halt. She has two boys who play hockey--one on Declan's team and one who is two years older. And her husband is a coach. Where does their hockey stuff reside? On a rack in the garage. She said it even stinks out there because her older son is so superstitious he won't let her wash his gear (aren't you glad I'm finally getting to the moral of this story?). She has to covertly wash his gear and get it back on the rack or into his bag without him knowing. (She also said the smelliest gear belongs to her daughter who does ballet!)
Declan hasn't developed BO yet. Neither has Finn. And Eamonn doesn't really play enough to make his gear reek, so the garage may still be a ways off. But this whole onversation about the son not wanting his gear washed got me thinking during that 6 a.m. game in the ice rink: I was wearing the same socks I'd worn the day before and they'd won. Hence, I needed to keep wearing these socks or else they'd lose.
I'm nothing if not rational.
When Sunday morning rolled around, we needed to be on the road by 6:45 a.m. to head up valley where the semi-finals and the finals, if the team made it, would be played. I pondered my socks. Was this crazy? Should I wear them again? Was it tempting fate not to? I did a quick sniff test. They were still OK, so I threw them on and away we went.
The boys won the semi-final easily, but very nearly lost in the finals. In the end, they won 1 - 0 in a very, very competitive game in which, frankly, they were outplayed. I think the win had to do with some spectacular goaltending (ahem--we were outshot 20 - 2), one great goal, and my socks.
Congrats, boys! And you're welcome.