Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I cannot say I am displeased to have woken up with the Spurs ahead of the Heat.

I suppose that such comments deserve some explanation. I have noted before, and more than once, that I grew up in the area of San Antonio, Texas, and that I did my undergraduate work at the University of Texas at San Antonio. It makes sense, then, that I would have a particular affection for the San Antonio Spurs, although I am perhaps late in coming to it; I was not fond of sports as a child, largely because I kept getting beaten up by those who played them for the schools I attended and saw them praised for failure more than I and mine would be praised for success. Even now, I react...adversely to much praise of athletes--a discussion for another time entirely, I know. The important thing to note is that I am a Spurs fan as much as I am a fan of any team in any sport. (This includes the Cardinals, folks. I enjoy a good game, but I am for SA over St. Louis any day.)

Like much else pertaining to sports, my fandom (such as it is) has elements of the irrationally superstitious about it. Like many fans (again, such as I am), I have the idea at some level that my observation of the game influences it. (Yes, I know that the idea behind Schrödinger's cat applies, so that it is not quite as irrational as all that. Still...) Unlike many fans, I am convinced that my influence upon the Spurs is a baleful one. While it is not the case that my not watching a game ensures a Spurs victory, I do not recall ever watching a Spurs game (even for so loose a definition of "watching" as "following real-time updates online") that the team won--with one exception: one watched in the reflection of a mirror at a bar and grill. The former alone is simple coincidence, that the games I watched happened to be games the Spurs lost, and that correlation does not mean causation. But the reverse-watching being a winning game for the Silver and Black...that seems to me, even if irrationally and superstitiously, to be a bit more than mere coincidence.

As I think on the matter, I have to consider whence the idea comes. It in part seems to me to be a manifestation of the medieval I study; one of the commonplace understandings of the European Middle Ages (an admittedly nebulous idea) is that the people frequently worked in symbol (as opposed to text, which is itself a series of symbols, but typically not regarded as such). That is to say they looked for omens and portents in daily occurrences, reading the events of the natural and human worlds as not only themselves but representations of greater orders entirely. The world was not merely the world but a reflection of its Maker also, albeit one in a mirror not always easily seen. It is a kind of thinking to which many minds are no longer accustomed, one that opens possibilities within creation and so one of value even if, from time to time, it convinces a person that a team is best served by that person's not watching it play.

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