From the sideline

Column: A trend hard to overlook

May 18, 2013 

Rituals satisfying superstitions aren’t crazy if they work – at least that’s what they say.

One mutual superstition between me and East Wake softball coach Melissa Bell has worked all season long through the Warriors’ second-round playoff game against Garner on Tuesday. Even when the terms of the superstition were changed, we found a way to make an otherwise unfounded belief believable.

Bell pointed out prior to the Garner game that I had made the trip to Laney High School in Wilmington on May 10, and her team upset the Bucs by way of a 4-0 shutout in the first round playoff game.

“I’m not superstitious or anything, but you did cover the playoff game on Friday that we won, so you’re covering tomorrow night as well right?” Bell asked me Monday morning.

At that point it sunk in that I might actually be the Warriors’ lucky rabbit’s foot.

I immediately started flipping through old papers, looking for other signs supporting that allegation, and it took little time to confirm my initial suspicion that the East Wake team had not lost a single game I had attended this season.

Upon sharing that tidbit with Bell, she replied, “Don’t miss another one.”

Later that same morning, however, I came across some news that at first seemed to butt heads with the ongoing trend.

The way the coverage schedule for Tuesday panned out I landed in Pittsboro covering the Corinth Holders baseball team’s second-round game against Northwood – not the East Wake-Garner game.

I worried that, if East Wake lost, I might be responsible for bringing an end to a phenomenon that, however silly, had yet to be proven wrong.

Bell joked that she wanted the cell phone number of another community sports editor so she could request a schedule alteration that would allow me to cover the Warriors’ big game with the Trojans.

Assuming our superstitious fun had come to an end, neither of us were really concerned. It was more of a “bummer, dude” situation than anything else. After all, the real reason Bell’s softball team had won three times as many games as it had lost to that point was because the team is loaded with talent. And it’s not like I was in attendance at every game the Warriors won this season.

When I had that thought, visions of lucky charms started dancing in my head again. I pulled out my cell phone and sent Bell my latest realization – that I hadn’t covered East Wake’s April 19 win over Garner, so it was probably a good thing for her that I wasn’t covering their playoff game.

Those who follow the Warriors know they won that game 6-4 due to solid pitching by Lauren Miller and hitting by Ashlee Miller, Haley Glover and Breanna Archibald. At the same time, however, it kept East Wake’s record perfect in games where we’ve taken my presence into consideration. Kind of creepy.

The win set the Warriors up with a third round game at Scotland High School last Friday. While I knew the Warriors’ fate was in their own hands, it seemed like I was carrying out an extra step of good measure when I put Laurinburg down on my destinations list.

My presence might not have helped, but it certainly couldn’t have hurt.

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