One-Liner Wednesday – The Curse

The church I attended while growing up.
The church I attended while growing up.

During an email conversation with my brother last week, I mentioned that I was going to call our mom later that day. I told him that I felt bad that I hadn’t wished her a Merry Christmas on Christmas, but that the one-hour time difference and the fact that the Steelers needed every second but four of their Christmas day game to beat The Ravens, kept me from calling. I mentioned that I didn’t want to call her during the game, lest that count as letting her watch, albeit vicariously through the connection.

He put me at ease by saying:

“I didn’t talk to her during the game and she was in the living room watching a movie.”

The well-accepted understanding is that if my mom watches the Steelers play, the Steelers lose. I’m guessing that this notion originated with my father, who was famous for having us move to the “defensive end of the couch” when necessary. I’ve tried to explain to my wife that we’re not superstitious, but that there are some coincidental patterns that aren’t to be trifled with. I don’t move around on the couch, but I don’t mess with the mom-curse.

Once, while I was visiting my brother, the Steelers were playing in the Sunday Night Football game. Mom understood that that meant an early dinner and that we would be dropping her at her apartment by 8:30.

It’s not just family thing, members of the general public are on board with this. Several years ago, while Faith and I were in Pittsburgh, we went to church with my mom. Hers is a small Methodist church that offers a somewhat “interactive” service. When we got to the “what have you got to praise” portion of the service, my mother stood up and praised the fact that her son and granddaughter were visiting. The preacher welcomed us and asked what brought us to Pittsburgh. When I mentioned that we were going to the Sunday Night Football game, he interrupted and said: “you’re not taking her with you, are you?

The congregation breathed a collective sigh of relief when I assured them that we were not. It was only a pre-season game, but after the service ended, one man suggested that actually taking her to the stadium would likely affect the entire season.


Note: There’s a photo in the gallery of Rocky Bleier (number 20) presenting a medal to a Viet Nam Veteran. We attended the game on NFL’s Veterans Recognition Weekend. Rocky was severely wounded in Viet Nam, and was initially told he would never play football again. Art Rooney wanted him back with the Steelers. He spent a year on the injured reserved list, and he was waived a couple of times, but he made it back to the starting lineup. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in 1976 and he earned four Super Bowl rings before retiring from football. Perhaps a little known fact, he was born and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin. I remember reading about Appleton a couple of times. I wonder if Rocky ever went to Octoberfest?

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday.

One Liner Wednesday

59 thoughts on “One-Liner Wednesday – The Curse

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  1. Good one, Dan. I’m a Patriots fan myself, but I do understand what you have to go through for your team to succeed. I’m not superstitious either, but I do wish Brady would listen to me when I scream at the TV screen!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dan, I laughed my head off. What a terrific post. If you could see me watching a Patriots game, you would smile, nod your head, and completely understand. Bless your Mom. So, why are people feeling sorry for your mother?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not a football fan – or hockey, or baseball, or anything really. I’m just not. So I don’t really get the whole team mojo thing … but even I thought it was hilarious that the preacher had concerns about your mom’s influence on the game :D
    Since it is highly unlikely I will ever go to a football game, I enjoyed the photos from the stadium. You focused on exactly the things a non-fan like me would be interested in …. the awesome city skyline, the ketchup board, and the bullseye.
    …. and wow, there is no question that the 2 of you look like brothers! :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joanne! Yeah, I think we’re related. I always take a camera, but I rarely take pictures during the game. Not superstition, I just don’t want to miss anything. My mom was a member of that church for 75 years when we had to move her to Iowa. She still keeps in regular contact with that preacher.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Mom takes this in stride. I don’t think she likes watching football, anyway. Since she doesn’t ever watch, she’s off the hook if they lose. We may end up facing both of your husband’s teams (if we get past Miami). I think we all know that it comes down to the men on the field. None of are really superstitious…

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  3. Well, the Steelers need all the help they can get, Dan. :-) Sorry, couldn’t resist. My dad feels the same way about any team he likes and we joke about him rooting for the opposite team to help obtain the right outcome. So I totally get it, although I don’t really have any superstitions that way.
    Since Dad likes the Patriots (oh, where did I go wrong??), he usually comes out on the winning side of those games, no matter what he does. :-(
    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, we got into the playoffs, now it’s up to the team to get this job done. I’ll do my part, but I can’t run interference for them against Brady and company. I’m not really superstitious but it’s fun way to be a part of the game from a distance.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The funny thing (for me) is that I think this pre-dates my memory of Steelers football. She is allowed to watch the Pirates and the Penguins play so something must have happened early on in their marriage to set this in stone. But yeah, well know curse.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That is too funny about your mom and the curse. I feel bad, though, if she’s actually a Steeler’s fan, but can never watch the game. I had a sweatshirt once, during the Favre days, that I stopped wearing on Packer Sunday. The team would lose every time I wore it. These days, I have a #12 jersey and a #12 shirt that I can wear with good success. Hey, you know, it’s only weird if it doesn’t work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have another post about Jerseys, but I need to see how the post season plays out before writing that. It may end up being part of a more generic post, once baseball starts. I was surprised at the Appleton connection. I kept reading that and thinking “where have I heard about that town?”

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      1. LOL! Did you also know about Harry Houdini and Appleton? From Wikipedia: “Weisz (Houdini) arrived in the United States on July 3, 1878, on the SS Fresia with his mother (who was pregnant) and his four brothers.[7] The family changed their name to the German spelling Weiss, and Erik became Ehrich. The family lived in Appleton, Wisconsin, where his father served as Rabbi of the Zion Reform Jewish Congregation.” We have a Houdini Plaza downtown and there have been seances held in Appleton in order to summon the spirit of Houdini.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Yup, and today is no exception. Highs in the single digits if you don’t count the wind chill.

            I just thought of something…maybe we could hold a seance to summon the winning football gods for our respective teams. Wearing the correct jerseys, of course, and not inviting your mother.

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  5. Your poor mom! :)
    I love that ‘manufacturer’s recall’!! They’ve a sense of humour, then.
    I won’t comment on the sports content as I’m clueless about it. (Maybe it’s that cluelessness that is the curse?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My poor mom? My father would have a different way of saying that :)

      She’s a pretty good sport about this, but she does take some ribbing.

      The minister of her church has a pretty good sense of humor. I think it’s required.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, I get what you mean, Dan. These, ahem, patterns (not superstitions!) are ignored at our peril. Or so it seems. I usually scoff at them myself, but even I couldn’t help pointing out to the Washington Nationals fans in my area (I’m a diehard Orioles fan) that any time I attend a Nats home game, they not only win, but achieve some milestone — a no-hitter, for example, or a 20-strikeout game, in one instance.

    Now they want me at the big games. Which I don’t mind … as long as the Nats aren’t playing the Orioles. Jinx my own team? Never!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That works well for you, Paul. I might have to ask you to be busy when they play the Pirates – is that how you guys swept us last year? You guys have some close proximity markets down there. There are a good number of Steelers fans up here, and I am very often greeted with “Go Bucs” when I am out with a Pirates shirt on. It helps make it fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’d like to invite your mother to be my guest at the Steelers-Patriots game on January 14! I don’t think we’ll need her, but since she comes with a proven track record, why not?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think we can play you guys, unless it’s in the AFC title game. If we beat Miami, I think we have to go to KC. Not that I’m looking forward to that either. I’m not looking forward to the rematch with Miami. But, no, you can’t borrow my mom. Unless I can flip her to being a Patriots fan in two weeks. Maybe I’ll buy her a Brady jersey and put her in front of the TV.

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  8. I am also a life long Steeler fan. My daughter is our family curse and she knows it and acknowledges it. During the Steelers/Cardinals Super Bowl, she left the room. She’s lucky we let her stay in the house. LOL!

    My son was at the same game you were….Cowboys, right?

    I live near Harrisburg PA; been to Pittsburgh a bunch of times, love it, love going to games at Heinz.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It’s great to hear from another fan. Yep, Cowboys. What a heart-breaker that was. We have been going about every other year for a while now. It’s about 10 hours, but we enjoy the ride and we try to pack a lot in. I didn’t want to go to the Cowboys game, but it was a good weekend because the Pens were also playing (at least they won). I hope your daughter has plans for Sunday :)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I think you know I care not about football. At least, usually. Like, I really, really hate the Patriots and I want them always to lose, but maybe eventually that’ll wear off and I can go back to not givin a flyin fig about football. I care some about hockey and basketball.
    I think that’s a marvelous story about the pastor worried over your mother watching the game. I wish I could wield such influence in my house…Hard to devise a plan…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your rooting against the Pats. We need all the help we can get there. I didn’t watch football (after getting married) until our daughter decided she liked watching. Then it was like “yay, football’s back!”

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  10. Oh my gosh, your poor Mom! She is a really good sport!!

    My children one boy, one girl played baseball and softball. They had superstitions that they would do during their years of team sports.
    Baby Girl and Big Baby Boy would wear their socks a certain way. I’m sure Baby Girl learned that from her Big brother. :)

    We never have had rules or superstitions while watching the Steelers play, but He-Man does prefer it if I’m not cooking or doing dishes while the game is on. When I was all about shopping at the Mall I would head there, but I’m over the Mall so I’m usually at home now, but keep my noise down by doing something in another room. Usually on the computer or in the Retreat watching a movie.

    I have one really vivid memory of one of the coaches during my son’s Little League days. The coach did not wash his car all season. His car was so gross by the end of the season! Really, really gross. At his house he parked his car under a tree. I don’t think I’ll forget that superstition or how really awful that car looked by the end of the season.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Now I’m concerned, Dan. It never occurred to me that your mom had this power. I’m suggesting that you establish a tag team baby er mom sitting team. You play cards, talk, knit. Anything but watch the game. Go Steelers on Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My husband is a fan of the Lions. He watches them until they start losing. Then he changes the station. It isn’t because he’s all that angry. He just knows that their chances of winning from a losing position is greater if he doesn’t watch.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This was a great church one liner but the preacher actually knowing about the “Mom curse” cracked me up the most! I think it is fun to have traditions and rituals, Dan. In the movie, Silver Linings Playlist, Robert DeNiro’s character has so many of these for football and gambling. It is a sweet movie with some crazy moments but it is not too far exaggerated from many of our families. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Good one. I’m not superstitious but this has happened a zillion times now that whenever I go for a shower with lights on the there’s a power outage in Vasai. The moment I come out of the bathroom the power supply resumes. So I usually shower in the dark with some sunlight penetrating through the ventilation. Once, I was having a bath and my sister who had come in for holidays and unaware of my power outage coincidence turned on the lights and in next 10 seconds there was a power outage. It doesn’t happen every time, but out of 10, 8 times this will happen. 2 times the lights might stay.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Moving to the defensive end of the couch is one of the cleverest game superstitions I’ve ever heard of. It calls up quite a visual of your family watching a game. The more fans sitting on the couch, the funnier the visual. So if there were just one or two of you, I don’t want to hear about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha – I’ll leave you to your imagination Janet. Watching sports was fun and educational, if you consider the language I was picking up to be education. My mother had to keep raising the bar as to when she would protest. Add to that, the fact that a lot of those games were in the pre-cable era when various antennae had to be adjusted and “fine tuning” controls were still part of the TV experience – We’re so spoiled :)

      Liked by 1 person

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