Sept. 29, 2009
Blame It on the Internet
-Gene Steinmeyer, Northwest Head Women's Basketball Coach
Have you ever gotten one of those emails from a friend that will help you have three years of good luck? Of course, if you don't pass it on to a least five of your friends, you'll experience three years of horrible luck.
Never, and I repeat never, send one of those emails to a basketball coach. As a group, we have to be the most superstitious group known to man. The problem is we keep passing it on to our players and assistant coaches. When they get into coaching, they bring the superstitions to new levels.
Let me give you an example. In March of 2008, I was driving near the post office with my assistant coach, Lori Hopkins. We were about to begin postseason play in the MIAA Tournament. It was just a normal drive back to campus about midmorning when the unthinkable happened - a black cat ran right in front of us. I had no choice. Coach Hopkins almost sustained neck injuries as I slammed on the brakes. I quickly backed up and sped down the nearest alley before that cat could run a city block. When I was safely in front of this evil black cat, I headed back to campus.
My efforts paid off. We won the MIAA tournament as a five seed. Those upsets would never have happened if the black cat had found a way to cut me off. Before the invention of the internet, those types of emails came through the mail. You know, the old pyramid scheme where you would get a letter with five names at the bottom. Send money to those five names, put your name at the top and send it to five of your unsuspecting friends. You were threatened that your life would become pure hell if you failed to respond, but riches would soon show up if you got your name at the top of the list. I'm sure the only ones that got rich were those first five names.
Then the internet showed up. You might get a "Support the Troops" email. Send it to five patriotic friends and wear red every Friday, or you surely belong to the Communist party.
How about the religious emails? Send "blessings" to 10 of your friends and the riches of faith will find your door step. Ignore the email and the ceilings of heaven will drop directly on your skull. The ones I dislike the most is the "Good Luck" emails. I can ignore the others, but those good luck ones bother me for weeks. If we lose a close game, it has to be because I didn't respond to the email that promised no bad luck for years.
Recently, one of my former players, a coaching colleague, God Mother to my son, the present coach at Doane College, and my best friend, Tracee Fairbanks, sent me a "Good Luck" email. I was shocked to find that when I opened the email, I became part of a slide show I had to endure or reboot the computer. It took five minutes to get through the slides that stated, "If you wear red, you are confidend; if you wear black you are hiding love handles, etc." Finally, I get to the end and the good luck-bad luck message pops up. "Forward this to five friends for five years of good luck. Ten successful CEO's have sworn by this email. However, don't ignore it. You will subject yourself to three years of horrible luck. For instance, the CEO of General Motors ignored this email." I couldn't believe Tracee sent this to the most superstitious person in Missouri.
Here's how I responded, "Thanks a lot! I didn't send the email to anyone. Who believes in that stuff? Wait a minute. Is that a boil forming on my arm? Are those sores in my mouth the start of trench mouth? Is that odor coming from my feet from permanent athlete's foot? Is that the bank calling, telling me to say my identity has been stolen and I'm penniless? Is that my wife packing the car and heading out of the driveway with a 20-year old weight lifter? Is that my son, Sam (and your God son) robbing an old lady? Is that my basketball team refusing to run sprints while breaking training rules? Is that my assistant coach that just started the rumor I have Alzheimer's? Did the athletic director just send the sheriff to escort me off campus? Did my dog just drink radiator fluid? Did Doane College just forfeit all the games I ever coached?"
Do you think all that made her feel guilty? Not a chance. She shot me back an email blaming me for making her so superstitious. If it hadn't been for me, Tracee could have led a normal life. But now, she will always forward those emails to me. I think I'll buy her a black cat.
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