The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

COMMENTARY: The art of lying to myself

Superstition failed me this weekend, should I change?
Maddy Rice
An Arizona defender attempts a diving tackle on WSU quarterback Cam Ward in an NCAA football game October 14 at GESA Field in Pullman, Wash.

Superstition is a powerful thing, but when most people have it they are wrong. When I have it, though, it is smart and calculated and works some if not all of the time.

Saturday night, around six, things were not looking too hot for the Cougs. Coming out of halftime down two touchdowns, WSU needed to make something happen. They did not manage that, at all, for the first half of the third quarter.

That is all I saw. Sitting in the press box, being forced to listen to some national media guys loudly discussing UW’s receivers in the middle of the plays, proved to be too much for me. 

Maybe I left early because I was upset about how much my team was losing and could not bear to watch more. That sounds like it could be true, right?

It is not. In fact, leaving was a calculated scheme, to help the Cougs mount a comeback. As I got on my bike and began the ride home, I felt more confident than I had been at any point in the game. It is simple logic. I stopped watching, so the Cougs must win.

That did not happen this time, a bummer that could have led me to reconsider my superstitions. With so much evidence, though, how could I?

It is 2016. The night of the last game of the NBA finals, one way or another. After being down 3-1 to the Golden State Warriors, my Cleveland Cavaliers have forced a game 7 behind historic performances from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The clock is winding down, and with just under two minutes left the Warriors have a fast break. 

You know the call: “Iguodala to Curry, back to Iguodola, up for the layup, OH! BLOCKED BY JAMES!”

There I was, sitting on the floor of my living room next to an ottoman. At that moment, I knew, this was because of me. More on that later.

It is 2019. Russell Westbrook, a member of the OKC Thunder at the time, drives for a layup. He is stopped by Portland Trail Blazer Al-Farouq Aminu. The game is tied, and the ball gets to Damian Lillard. 15 seconds left in the game, Lillard waits from way out. Paul George watches but plays off, knowing no sane player would take the game-winning attempt from the actual mid-court logo. 

You know the call: “Lillard, a chance to send the Thunder home… Lillard long-range three— IT’S GOOD! AT THE BUZZER, DAMIAN LILLARD ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”

This time, I am watching from my kitchen. I am sitting on the island on a stool as I eat a bowl of ice cream. Again, this is my doing. I just know it.

From that point on until I moved out of that house years later, I had a system. When my team was on defense late in a game, I watched from the floor of my living room. On offense, I back to the kitchen. It is an easy enough system to understand but trust me, it is difficult to execute at times.

Getting back on offense (the kitchen counter) takes about the same amount of time a real basketball team does when they get the stop. Likewise for defense. Football and baseball are much, much easier, but it can still be a lot of work.

Have you ever had your team blow a big lead to the Cavs, Blazers, Guardians or Seahawks? That was probably me.

It is hard to watch sports and feel like you have absolutely no control over the outcome. This is why we create superstitions.

On Saturday, superstition failed me. As I biked past Gesa Field on my way home, I heard yet another Cougar turnover. The disappointment from within the stadium was palpable.

My grand scheme had no impact on the Cougs. I was wrong. Maybe, superstition is silly and made up and does not work.

This has been a big learning experience for me. I have changed my mindset completely.

Next time the Cougs are down big, I’ll ditch the bike and walk home. My method of conveyance was the problem. Changing it will surely work. You are all welcome.

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About the Contributors
HAYDEN STINCHFIELD, Evergreen sports co-editor
Hayden Stinchfield is a senior in Criminology from Washougal, WA. He is considered by some experts to be the greatest to ever spot birds. Hayden began working at the Evergreen in fall 2022, and became Sports Co-Editor in summer 2023.
Maddy Rice, Evergreen photographer
Maddy Rice is a photographer for the Daily Evergreen. Originally from White Center, Washington, she is a sophomore majoring in Business Managment, with a minor in Sports Managment. Maddy began working for the Daily Evergreen in the Fall of 2023.