Bandwagons and superstitions
Jan. 19, 2018
by Ivan Raconteur

Sporting events, such as the recent Minnesota Vikings game, can be fraught with drama and provide a backdrop for observing human behavior.

Playoff season in any sport tends to attract those who may be marginally interested. It can even attract those who have no interest in the game, but who do like to be part of things that make for good water cooler talk.

There have been a lot of people climbing on the Vikings’ bandwagon lately, following the surreal end to Sunday’s outing.

This is not too difficult to understand.

Those on the fringes may follow the local team during the playoffs because each game has more significance than those played during the regular season.

The “win or go home” nature of the games adds a new dimension that many people find attractive.

Those who don’t care about sports may take an interest simply to see what all the excitement is about.

It has always been thus, and a loss can send people diving off the bandwagon as quickly as a win can entice them to climb aboard.

It seems to me there are fewer of these galvanizing moments that bring a broad spectrum of people together to rehash a shared experience than there once were.

Back in the days of three major networks, when there were fewer choices dividing our attention, people tended to see more of the same things, and significant events were shared by more people at the same time.

We know from experience the current epidemic of Vikingsmania could end as quickly as it began, but for now, it has been fun to watch.

Another thing that has been entertaining is the superstitions that go along with sports in general, and playoffs in particular.

Since the Vikings latest victory, I have heard and read about people who plan to wear the same clothes, sit in the same seats, and do all of the same things during the next game, as if any change they make might potentially jinx the purple horde and cause them to be defeated in the next contest.

I’m no expert in these matters, but I can’t quite see how wearing your lucky underwear or walking into rooms backward will put points on the board Sunday. Some people, though, seem to be convinced these superstitions are real.

Others think chanting incantations while standing on one leg while facing Winter Park, or serving the same pre-game snacks will help keep a winning streak alive.

Maybe they will.

One thing that has always baffled me is the players who call for divine intervention to help secure victory.

First, it’s my understanding that the Creator took a well-earned break on the Sabbath, so it seems odd that he would be hanging around football stadiums, and even if he was, it seems unlikely he would be working.

Second, if players on both sides are calling for help from above to carry them to victory, how does the Almighty decide which of them gets the nod?

Whatever happens, it seems safe to assume a lot of people will be tuning in to see the Vikings Sunday.

Regardless of the outcome, there will likely be plenty of interesting things to see, both on and off the field.

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