For my next trick, I will relate a discussion of sex and baseball to football winning streaks.
If you haven’t seen “Bull Durham,” see it. Memorize it. Know it. It is a touchstone for movie classics and a well for life knowledge.
Anyways, we’re in the Carolina League somewhere in the late ’80s. Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) is sleeping with rookie Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) and teaching him the ropes of life and big-league baseball in the process. Nuke’s got a million-dollar arm, but a five-cent head.
The Bulls suck. But, thanks to a little wisdom and a forced rainout from catcher Crash Davis (Kevin Costner), the Bulls start to turn it around. Playing like major-leaguers, they go on a major win streak. Team winning, road trips fun, everyone’s happy… except Annie, of course. Because of the win streak, Crash advises Nuke not to sleep with Annie until the team loses.
Furious at the notion that Crash is keeping Nuke out of her bed, Annie confronts Crash, saying things like “How dare you tell him to stay out of my bed!” Now here’s the important part. Crash’s response:
“I never told him to stay out of your bed. I told him that a player on a streak has to respect the streak. You know why? Because they don’t happen very often. If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid or because you’re not getting laid or because you wear women’s underwear, then you are! And you should know that!”
Talk about powerful stuff. Never mess with a winning streak. Ever. This is high school stuff. And it’s what made a couple developments this weekend so interesting.
From the moment I saw Notre Dame had chosen to wear green jerseys for their game with Boston College, I knew their winning streak was over. “What are you doing, Tyrone?” I said immediately, referring to head coach Tyrone Willingham.
Willingham took over a program coming off a 5-6 campaign in 2001. Most thought Notre Dame was two or three years away from being fully rebuilt. Willingham accelerated the process, and had the Irish off to an 8-0 start with legitimate national title aspirations – all while wearing white jerseys on the road and blue jerseys at home. Wanting to get his team involved in a “Sea of Green” rallying craze around campus,
Willingham decided to go with green, effectively toying with the fates that had been so kind to his team.
In what came as no surprise to this columnist, Notre Dame lost, 14-7. The fates wanted the Irish out of their house, effectively quoting Erykah Badu: “You better call Tyrone and tell him to come on, help you get your @#*$… but you can’t use my phone.” Good stuff.
I’d expect as much from Notre Dame. They don’t know the game of superstition like our Rammies. Having lost every road game to Air Force since 1998, the Rams turned back the clock to 1996 – the last time they beat AFA on the road. For that game, CSU wore gold pants. Thus, the Rams pants were gold again Thursday night. In what came as no surprise to this columnist, CSU won, 31-12.
Obviously it’s not all luck here. Notre Dame had worked hard to get to 8-0 just as the Rams busted their tails to rout Air Force. Just the same, luck is always involved. I don’t care of you’re the hardest working team in the nation, you have to be lucky just like you have to be good.
So whatever streak you’re on – be it football, exams or love – follow the advice of Crash Davis: respect the streak.
Unless you want the fates singing Erykah Badu lyrics to you, too.
Reed is a senior journalism major.