The playoff beard has never done anyone wrong, right?
This is the question I found myself pondering Wednesday night after I put down my razor and shaved for the last time for what I pray will be months. I"m 15 and a half, so it'll likely mature into nothing more than a trashy playoff scumstache, but it'd be worth it to break this curse that begrudges me.
See, I became a sports fan in October 2004. Living in New Hampshire, there was a Yellow Brick Road paved for me to become another devout New England Red Sox fan. But, rebelling as I am, I picked up the Yankees.
All went well as the Yanks beat Minnesota in the first round, and leapt out to a 3-0 series lead against the Sox. All the pieces were falling into place for me to become one of those fans you love to hate, the one who's teams always prevail when it matters most.
I hate Dave Roberts.
After the biggest choke in professional sports' history, I became an elitist chasing victory. I became a Laker fan, becoming enamored in the storied program, and passing up the opportunity to become a Celtics fan, another excellent organization that I had to despise as a New England sports hater. Then, the Purple and Gold decided to rip my heart out in the spring of 2006.
Up 3-1 against the rival Phoenix Suns, the gods of Sport surely must omiss me from two gut wrenching losses, correct? Correct?
Apparently not. The Lakers gave that series right back to the Suns, as if purely for the entertainment of my discontent.
So, I adapted football. In the previous autumn, the Cincinnati Bengals jumped out to an excellent 4-0 season start. So, for the third time, I passed up the exceptional Patriots to put my faith behind a group of convicts in Tiger unis.
And you know what? They won the division. And finally, escaping the first round seemed like a very attainable possibility. I remember it so clearly, that Cincy v. Pitt game in Cincinnati. Palmer goes down on the second play, and Kitna gives me hope, only to have it torn away. Again.
I adapted Notre Dame for college football in '05 when they did epic battle with the Trojans of Souther Cal. Many remember that game merrily, as an exciting duel between two excellent teams. I remember it for the Bush-Push and the beggining of a sentence for some crime I did not commit.
Syracuse basketball came to me in 2005, essentially for no reason. Who knows, maybe team colors. Nonetheless, I was there when Gerry McNamara and the Orange made that spellbinding Big East tourney run. I was also there when Texas A and M upset us as a 12 seed in the first round. Sigh.
So, if you haven't already picked up on the heart of the curse, I've been a sports fan for four years, and in that time, my seemingly elite teams have never advanced past the first since the tragedy known as ALCS 2004.
But, things have begun to change, and there is new wind in my sails. For all this New England content seems to be swaying, and I experienced happiness for the first time as the Giants upset the Patriots.
And now, my beloved Montreal Canadiens, a team I didn't start admitting I adored until 2004, are doing battle with the Bruins of Boston in the first round. This is the same Habs team that got eliminated on the final game of the season with a 2 goal lead, leading me as close to rehab as one will ever get without actually attending. And, the Lakers are playoff bound as a high seed. It seems, knock on wood, that my time may have come.
So, I put the razor back in my cupboard and bid it adieu. I may not see it for months. And I may see it in days, in which case I'd ask my friends to remove any sharp objects from my room. Hey. Pray with me.