Friday, February 13, 2015

Are you superstitious? Do you fear the number 13?

For some reason, years ago, as a kid, playing midget football, the number 13 jersey was given to me. It became my favorite number except when trying to win the Powerball. For that, the numbers include 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 23, 27, 27, 51 and 52, but obviously not all the time. There is no superstition in their choosing, just numbers associated with dates. There are other numbers which could be used if Powerball or MegaMillions or any of the other games of chance would allow. 13 has never been used. Maybe, after many failed PowerBall attempts, that should be rethought.

There is no superstition in not using number 13. The superstition is in using the others. Maybe that’s not a superstition at all. A superstition is an irrational belief or beliefs that something good or bad will happen as a result of the belief. For instance, when playing golf, after marking the ball on the green with the head side of a quarter up, if the putt goes in the cup, the head side of the coin will always be up until a putt is missed. Then tails is up until…we’ll you get the gist of that superstition.

Pam Valvano, wife of the late coach Jim Valvano, couldn’t stay in her seat during the nine-game winning run that led NC State to the national championship in 1983. During that span, she never saw the final minutes of those games as she departed the arena proper at just the right time, headed for the concourse, and paced, sometimes accompanied by others who bought into the superstition that the Wolfpack could not win without the pacing or if Pam and the others were actually watching the game. Winning had nothing to do with a magnificent pass from Dereck Wittenberg to Lorenzo Charles in the final seconds against Houston. It was Pam’s pacing that won that game and others.

Today is the first of three Fridays the 13th of 2015, an unusual occurrence for one year. Usually there are two max. With February and March both starting off the month with the 1st on a Sunday, there’s two Fridays the 13th right off the bat. After March, we wait until November for another Friday the 13th. And, speaking of bats, today is opening day for NC State baseball and other area college teams. Players entering and exiting the playing field will jump across chalk lines, and you can be sure in one dugout or the other at any of these games, the players will be wearing their caps in some silly fashion. These are known as rally caps, a magical power that might result in a win, or not.
-------------------- word of the day
triskaidekaphobia (noun) [tris-kahy-dek-uh-foh-bee-uh]: fear or phobia concerning the number 13

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