Maybe it’s because the topic of his book is a bit off the wall. Maybe it’s because he makes me laugh. Maybe it’s because his name sounds like the main character in a Fox procedural where the main character is a former doctor/novelist/psychic who helps the police solve crimes while also running a successful taco restaurant. But, for whatever reason, I didn’t think a traditional interview would do the trick for Hart Seely.
His new book, The Juju Rules: Or, How to Win Ballgames from Your Couch: A Memoir of a Fan Obsessed, should remind all of us what complete idiots we are. Watching sports shouldn’t be a participatory event. But, of course, it is. Interviewing can be too.
A couple of weeks ago, I took to twitter (@Justin_SCP, Follow me!) and collected stories of ridiculous sports superstitions from some of our readers. Thousands were tweeted. Not that many responded. But, enough readers responded for me to share the stories with Hart Seely and get his expert impressions of just how ridiculous the SCP community truly is.
We discuss horrible beverages, mid-90’s hip hop and the Large Hadron Collider.
SCP: One of our readers insists on drinking diet fudge soda in between basketball games. He says it’s the only way to keep up the intensity and break up a losing streak.
HS: During games, I generally refrain from hitting the diet fudge soda. Not that it’s bad juju. Frankly, diet fudge soda gives me the creeps. You can hydrofrack the state of Ohio with that stuff. What’s in it? Nothing resembling fudge – that’s for sure. I’d rather drink water from the Hudson, even though it’s made from frozen concentrate. Or beer. Did I mention beer?
That said, a win is a win is a win. If it works, your diet fudge buddy should guzzle away, preferably jumped with something that can kill the germs that can cause bad breath. Like beer. Did I mention beer? I just hope he’s not a Knicks fan. I’d hate to think Jeremy Lin blew out his knee because your pal blew out his intestines on something that’s used to break prisoners at Gitmo.
SCP: Another listens to the the 1995 rap hit, “I Wish” by Skee-lo (not to be confused with cee-lo) before games
HS: I’m in. Music soothes the juju soul. Just as Boomer Wells used to bust teammates’ eardrums by playing Metalica in the clubhouse, so do many juju masters use music to properly warm up the joints and flex the flab-folds that can be hyper-extended during the heat of game combat. To win a championship, you must stay loose and basically be jujuing unconscious out there. Music puts you into your zone, assuming it’s not Celine Dion.
Personally, I avoid rap. Too many words. Give me some Bruce, some Johnny, some AC/DC and a karaoke mic, and I’ll take two out of three from Baltimore without breaking sweat.
SCP: This one came from twitter, hence the word fragments crammed into 140 characters: “Made my wife keep our cry’n 2 mth old up way past bedtime sit’n w/ him on couch while Sanchez beat Peyton in plyofs”
HS: Ahh, yes, fatherhood–the last bastion of juju. There are few more enjoyable ways to beat down Peyton Manning than by dressing your toddler in team swag, and keeping him up until 12:30 a.m. Been there. Done that.
But listen: Generally, juju requires solitude — keeping friends and family OUT of the war room. Children don’t need to see Daddy cry. At least you’re in luck: A two year-old won’t remember the incident, except under hypnosis, during court-ordered therapy sessions.
SCP: One person said they were once watching a Yankee game and got up to use the facilities. While they were in the bathroom, Bobby Abreu homered. And so, they stayed in the bathroom for the rest of the game, listening to the TV while they leaned out the door trying to see the picture.
HS: On the matter of juju, the head remains a Bermuda Triangle, or maybe a Bermuda Oval.
I was in the bathroom when Johnny Damon (the bearded, evil Redsock variety) homered off Javier Vazquez in game seven of the Great Yankee Collapse of 2004. It shamed me. It still does. Truth be told: I was away from my post. At the moment when the Yankees most needed relief, I was relieving myself. (But I’ll tell you, that was a lonnnnng inning.)
I know of a Giants fan who watched the entire second half of the 2012 Super Bowl locked in an upstairs bathroom (which, wisely, had a TV.) I am not making this up. He refused to leave. He refused to let anybody in. The Giants won. Could anybody need more proof?
My theory has always been that the TV set creates the direct wormhole link between your house and the game. But nothing requires the tube to be in your living room. In fact, the process of bodily fluid expulsion could affect juju. The truth is, we just don’t know. We need grant money. We need clinical studies. Games are won in the weight room. Can they be won in the bathroom, too? Right now, without federal funding, we’re just jiggling the handle on answers.
SCP: And now a few of my own..
I pace between pitches during the playoffs. If I’m watching the Yanks, I’ll watch every pitch.. then walk out of the living room and into my bedroom with my hands on my head, then pace back in front of the tv in time for the next pitch. In between, I throw air-pitches (like air guitar, but baseball.)
HS: This is classic, textbook stuff. Whenever I see a rookie, I say, “Kid, if you can’t walk the walk, you can’t voodoo the juju. Between each pitch, I pace a perfect circle, passing and touching various objects”– (Note: I never fondle; Never. Some people out there are claiming I fondle. They are liars!) –and positioning myself DIRECTLY in front of the TV at the PRECISE moment when the ball is pitched.
God gives you 25 seconds between each pitch. Use it. Pace. Pivot. Perform. A walk is as good as a hit. You should walk a mile each game.
SCP: When watching a particularly tense Ranger game, I will duck behind a counter and watch the game by taking a series of peeks at the screen. In between periods, I will sit on the floor.
HS: Say it, bro! I have watched entire games from behind the couch. Watching the Yankees face Cliff Lee is like sitting through a slasher movie: Each pitch is the moment when the slutty babysitter opens the door, and you shift your eyes to the couple making-out in row 3 rather than watch the red river carnage that’s about to come.
In my book, I call this move “the Lookaway,” although it’s also known as Coward’s Juju. You watch the TV until the moment of action, then turn away. In theory, the ball will move with you. I have a friend who swears he caused Scott Norwood’s field goal to go wide, winning the 1991 Super Bowl for the Giants, via the Lookaway. But here’s the truth: It doesn’t help against Cliff Lee.
SCP: A girl once left a winter cap at my house. I don’t remember her name, but I do remember that the Giants beat the Cowboys a few hours after she left. I still have the hat and wear it whenever I’m home by myself watching the Giants. It works. They just won the Superbowl thanks to that hat.
HS: Sorry to burst your balloon, but that hat had nothing to do with the Giants’ victory. There are no lucky hats, lucky shirts or even lucky boxers. Life is not that simple. No enchanted garment can win a World Series. Wear a stupid hat, and you just look like a dork. Or in the case of “lucky socks,” you smell like one.
Listen: Even if your ex was into some spiritual-pyramid-Loch Ness crapola, and even if she weaved the cap from Ozzie Osborn’s nasal pubes, following a séance to bring back The Amazing Kreskin– who is not dead, by the way– it doesn’t matter. It’s got as much juju as Betty White. Personal question… and you don’t need to answer: Was your ex-girlfriend the type who goes absolutely crazy in bed, and did she wear the cap during those moments of ecstasy? If so, the cap could contain the residue of scattered brain-juju particles– sort of like what the Hadron Large Collider is searching for– and they could make your little dinky juju grow by several inches. That’s your business. Wear the cap, but be discreet. That’s all I’m saying.
(ed. note: My Juju is not dinky. It is perfectly good for a man my size.)