It just has to be that way
By "Big Joe" Lombardi
Tell me the truth, now. Are you superstitious..at all?
Guilty..as are many people I know involved in coaching, playing, being a fan and reporting on any of America's games.
My issues with superstitions go all the way back to about 1959 when Little League baseball became a big part of my life.
In those days, every player from the big leagues on down to our level wore knicker-length pants with stirrup stockings over a pair of white athletic socks. Shirt, pants, white socks, then stockings were donned in order, with the stocking folded one inch beneath the pants leg. That's just how it was, even though it didn't help me get a hit.
Many years later in 1973 when I began officiating football, it was the same routine, even though I likely missed more calls than the ones I saw.
By no means was I alone in these ways. Have you ever read Green Bay lineman Jerry Kramer's book "Instant Replay?" He told of when getting his ankles taped before a game, a certain athletic trainer had to use a new roll of tape, which must be thrown away after the job was done. If another player picked up the roll, Kramer admitted he threw a fit until the tape resided in a trash can. That's just how it was.
Several years ago when Bulldawg football was in a big winning streak, the at the time head coach and I were getting ready to tape his weekly TV show and while setting up, we made sure the chairs, table props, cameras and microphones were in precisely the same spots they had been in before, all the while discussing in detail where
things should be.
That prompted then defensive coordinator and current Huntsville head coach Rodney Southern to remark.."I have never been around a more superstitious bunch of people."
Well, that's just how it was..and yes, we won that week.
Admittedly, this mindset has stayed with me throughout my 52
years of sportscasting. If your team is winning, don't change anything...same socks and underwear (cleaned, of course), pants, shirt, etc. But...if things are not going well, maybe it's time to try a new routine.
Up until now, I've worn shorts while taping "Coffee with the Coach" alongside Dawg boss Tony Johnson. This week, it was long pants.
Tonight for the game with Midway, I'm ditching the usual blue monogrammed shirt for a pink pullover touting the fight against cancer. But, I'd have done that anyway...because it was the right thing to do.
You'll probably see a lot of pink in the stands tonight, since this game has been designated Pink Out Night to draw attention to our school district's commitment to help in the battle against this horrible disease. I'm changing my shirt not out of superstition, but for the cause..because it's the right thing to do.