I was born into it. My dad taught me everything he knew about it. I always thought it wasn't fair, and why us? Years of false hope, followed by misery, people around us finding joy, while we struggled for relief. I was young, and didn't fully understand it, but it was real. The Red Sox, my favorite team, could not win the World Series could not fulfill the dream of me, my dad, and every other Red Sox fan, because there was a curse, the curse of the Bambino, and even the baseball gods could not reverse this curse. Many sports fans go through the same thing that I went through. Teams in every sport have curses. Over the years I've learned that there are three ways that curses come about. First is by some sort of wrong doing, second a coincidence, and third is bad karma.
The first way is a curse comes about is a wrong doing. In 1918 The Boston Red Sox traded their best player, George Herman "Babe" Ruth, to the New York Yankees because then Boston manager Henry Frazee, needed money to finance his girlfriend's play, "No, No, Nanette." Following the trade, the Yankees won 26 World Series in 86 years. How many did Boston win? Zero. Many things contributed to the curse. For example: The Red Sox lost the 1975 and 1986 World Series' in game 7. Bucky Dent, or otherwise known as Bucky "freaking" Dent to Red Sox fan, hit a 3-run home run in the top of the 9th after only hitting 40 home runs in his 12-year career, most players hit 40 in a season. Then in 2003 Aaron Boone, once again known as Aaron "freaking: Boone, hit a walk off home-run against the Red Sox in the bottom of the 11th inning to send the Yankees to the World Series. And the most famous example of the curse is the Billy Buckner's error in the bottom of the 9th in the 1986 World Series.
In 2004, after having a terrible season, The Red Sox traded their "best player" Nomar Garciaparra to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Just like the best player was traded in 1918 to start the curse, the best player was traded to reverse it.
Just like the Curse of the Bambino was originated because of a wrong doing, so was the Curse of Bobby Layne. The Detroit Lions were a powerhouse football team in the 1950's. Behind the arm of quarterback Bobby Layne, the Lions won three NFL Championships. In 1958 Layne was injured and the Lions thought he was passed his prime. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers and before getting on the east bound train Layne said that the Lions "would not win for 50 years." In 2008, 50 years after Layne's trade, the Lions lost every game ending with a 0-16 record.
Curses may also start because of coincidence. John Madden game out with the hit video game Madden NFL in 1989. The game started featuring NFL athletes on the cover in 1999. Garrison Hearst was on the first cover. He had a terrific season but during the second round of playoffs Hearst broke his ankle and was forced to sit out two full seasons. In 2000 Barry Sanders was featured on the cover, just seven days before training camp, and 1,500 yards away from beating the all-time rushing record, Sanders retires. Popular players like Ray Lewis, Michael Vick, Daunte Culpepper, and the most recent Drew Brees, have all acquired injuries after being on the cover of madden. After Garrison Hearst was hurt after being on the cover of Madden, and the coincidence of Sanders retiring early, it became a curse.
Another example of a curse coming from a coincidence is the Campbell's soup curse. This curse affects all NFL players that are in the ad for Campbell's soup. Kurt Warner was the first player to be featured in a commercial. Later he missed two seasons; Terrell Davis was forced into retirement after suffering a knee injury. LaDanian Tomlinson wasn't injured after the commercial but he suffered in a different way, he posted his lowest career total yards. Once again, it wasn't their fault; they endorsed a product that brought a curse.
Last but not least bad karma can cause a curse. The prime example of this is the city of Cleveland, Ohio. The city hasn't won a championship since 1964. The longest drought for any U.S. city. The Cleveland Indians last won the World Series in 1948. And the Cleveland Browns have never been to the Super Bowl. The Browns won the NFL championship in 1964 but have not been to the Super Bowl yet. They suffered huge playoff collapses known as The Fumble and The Drive. And last, The Cleveland Cavaliers had a chance with LeBron James, but you know how that turned out.
If you are a basketball player, preferably a center, and are going to be drafted to the NBA, pray you don't get drafted by the Trailblazers. Why? You ask. You're going to suffer leg injuries. Guaranteed. This is another sign of a bad karma curse. First was LaRue Martin, followed by Mychal Thompson who snapped his ankle going up for a routine lay-up, and last but not least Greg Oden who suffered a knee injury that made him only able to play 82 games out of a possible 246 games in his 3 years in the pros. All sports have teams who may be cursed. All of them starting from either a wrong doing, a coincidence, or bad karma. Do you remember what you were doing on October 24, 2004? I do. First I was on the edge of my seat, closing my eyes, and shaking. Then I was jumping up and down screaming, grabbing my brothers and telling them to pinch me so I could wake up. Then I was out in the front yard doing fireworks, listening to the song "Tessie" by the Dropkick Murphy's and my dad saying "I can't believe this." The Curse of the Bambino was finally over. 86 years of tears and torture for the Red Sox nation was over. So, take heart if you cheer for the Lions, Trailblazers, or any team in Cleveland. Or your favorite player endorses Madden or Campbell's soup. Times can change, the sporting gods can smile on you, and curses can be reversed. It stinks until you get there, but when it's finally over, it is sweet.
Thanks to Melissa Bohne for this contest submission about why curses in sports are real.
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