No one ever mentions the jinx. Of course not, it’s bad luck to mention it. You don’t want to jinx the jinx, do you?
Sportscasters have a bunch of fun with it, though. You’ve seen it. They’ll get a stat and they’ll report it proudly, using their microphone’s “cough button” to hide giddy laughter knowing that they’ve just unleashed it.
“The Ravens gotta pound the ball down the Steelers' throat and into the end zone here and they have the perfect back to do it in reliable Ray Rice, who has not fumbled all year long, so you can be sure that he holds onto the –- BALL COMES LOOSE!!! ... and it’s recovered by the Steelers at their own 1-yard line. Baltimore comes up empty.
Or how about this one?
Monday Night Football, Sept. 19, 2005: The Dallas Cowboys lead the Washington Redskins 13-0 late in the fourth quarter. “No team has ever come back from this deficit so late in the game on Monday Night Foo -- and the Washington Redskins have just scored 14 unanswered points to make history.”
Yet, it’s the job of the booth denizens to inform the viewing public of game strategy and historical outcomes. They’ve got a team of nerds hooked up to cattle prods in the satellite truck covered in statistics and charts and graphs coming up with this random useless knowledge. So at some time, you know they will let slip something that gives the jinx impetus to spring into action.
There's more to that, however. You know that off camera, Al Michaels was chastising his crew saying, “Get me something that will jinx the Cowboys! We need some excitement here.”
Baseball announcers wouldn’t dare. They will get a shard of one of those maple bats in their jugular after the game if they messed with the jinx. Baseball players are a different breed. They have voodoo dolls in their lockers. It’s bad juju not to. And if their voodoo dolls fail them, they have voodoo dolls of their voodoo dolls.
Across the diamond, the rules are simple: For instance, do NOT mention a no-hitter. Do NOT mention that you should not mention a no-hitter. And whatever you do, do NOT mention that you are not mentioning a no-hitter.
Fans will do it all the time, though, when their team is on the losing end. “Hey, did you notice YOUR pitcher has a no-hitter going here?” And they'll sit back and wait for the grand implosion. But it never comes ... at least, not due to this attempted jinxation.
That’s when the jinx doesn’t work. The jinx is tricky. He knows when you’re TRYING to jinx and when you’re simply informing.
I watched the Super Bowl at the home of a Packers fan and to alleviate his nerves in a way that Leinenkugel’s Honey Wheat Ale could not, I mentioned that no team who had ever fallen down by more than ten points in a Super Bowl had come back to win.
Yes, I had to watch the rest of the game shoved into his Pomeranian’s dog house, but I wasn’t worried. The jinx didn’t give a hoot at what I had to say.
He was too busy making arrangements to spite the Steelers fan who earlier had sent an email that stated he wouldn’t be able to attend a movie screening as he would “be too busy celebrating the Steelers 7th Super Bowl championship.” The jinx was absolutely salivating.
As you may see by now, it’s only if you have a vested interest, like if you call your buddy and say, “Hey, are you watching the game?. . . You gotta turn it on right now ... Why? ... Well, I really shouldn’t be telling you this, but Lincecum has a no-hitter going in the eighth and he’s -– uh oh, base knock. [long pause] Never mind.”
Though the jinx has been at work for a long time, his achievements weren't recorded until recently, sort of like the "hold" statistic for relief pitchers.
It was 1992 when Buffalo faced Dallas in the Super Bowl (the first time) and there were squares on the line. By the end (read: early middle) of the contest, the Bills were out of it. Thurman Thomas may have had his helmet the entire game, but his team had shown little resistance to the Cowboys.
In a dormitory lounge in upstate New York, Darrin Figueroa was about to win the money for the quarter as Cowboys defensive lineman Leon Lett picked up a fumble and rumbled toward the end zone. “Fig” had the money in his hand when a scrappy little player named Don Beebe knocked the ball away from Lett at the goal line, and the money was yoinked away ("yoink" is the sound money makes when it’s snatched from your hands -- a favorite sound of the jinx) and it was placed in an unsuspecting Andrea Tobin’s hands instead who was only participating so that she may gain access to the communal television after the game was over so that she might watch the short-lived sitcom “Flying Blind” on Fox afterward. The jinx recognized the irony.
It amuses me how fans will mess with the jinx; they’ll antagonize the jinx; they’ll go so far as to outright mock the jinx. It’s sheer folly on their parts as this mischievous creature is steadfast in his efficiency of ruining your hopes and dreams and laying the smackdown of disappointment upon you.
The jinx preaches humility and, above all, fear; a fear of any possible outcome (unless you’re the LA Clippers and then even the jinx can’t help you). “That’s why they play the games” was coined in deference to the jinx. The jinx does not have any allegiances. In fact, he’s not a sports fan, but prefers a gripping game of Pétanque instead. And let it be known, even the jinx has let his confidence bubble over and has, in fact, himmed himself. Again, the irony was not lost on the jinx.