Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Mojo Boogie

If I hadn’t called my blog “Darwinfish”, I was going to call it The Mojo Boogie. I’m one of those sports fans that gets into the team mojo… you know, must wear a certain thing, sit in a certain place, etc. It all started as kids living in the Ohio in the 70s.

Back then; NFL merchandising wasn’t what it is today. The only way to get Steelers coats, tee shirts, hats and jerseys was to go to Pittsburgh, or in our case, get Christmas presents from people living in Pittsburgh.

I’ll never forget getting my first customized jersey. This was probably after Super Bowl IX and I asked for a #63 Ernie Holmes jersey. (Even then I was trying to avoid all the Franco, Bradshaw, Mean Joe jerseys that were the most popular. I don’t think anyone in all of Ohio had a Fats Holmes jersey.)

So on the rare occasion that the Steelers were on TV, my brother and I would go get our jerseys on. We’d watch the first half, go out and play football during halftime, lose track of time and straggle in for the 4th quarter. But the thing is, we had to have the jersey on. That turned into sitting in our special spots. The Steelers went on to do pretty well in the 70s, thank you very much. Even today, my parents still dress for the games and sit in their mojo-approved football watching spots.

So, what defines mojo?

Ahem… Mojo is the unseen force that binds a team to its fans. It grows and abates in strength. It should not be underestimated. It is caused by people like me wearing our prescribed outfit and keeping our Terrible Towel over the prescribed knee. Other people fly flags, place special totems and drink particular beverages. I read about a guy from Indiana that drives all the way to Pittsburgh for each home game, to smoke a cigar with the statue of Art Rooney Sr. I always tell myself that "at least I'm not THAT bad..."

Mojo gives us all a sense of contribution to and involvement with our team. Maybe we can’t suit up and run the ball, but we can do that voodoo that we do while yelling our heads off at a TV screen.

Remember that Steelers/Jets playoff game in January of 2005? Remember when the Jets kicker missed one field goal and doinked another at the end of the game and in OT? That was caused by 65,000 fans in the stands yelling and waving, and millions around the world sending out vibes saying, “miss it!” Don’t mess with the mojo, man!

Starting the season after that, I began tracking my mojo activities, looking for trends and patterns. I even started an Excel spreadsheet just to keep it all organized. Seriously! Aside from the opponent, venue, day and time, I track what I wore during the week, what I wore the Friday before the game (last work day), where I watched the game, what the Steelers wore, what I wore, and the final score plus comments. Seriously.
Throughout that season, I learned that mojo is transient. You can change things up… in fact, you’re obligated to change things up when things are trending down. When things are going good, you change nothing, if you can help it. I learn what jersey I should wear when the Steelers are home on a Sunday afternoon, or that what works at home may not work when attending the game. The variables are many.

One thing I don’t worry about is the whole not washing an article of clothing thing. Mojo is what you believe it is. Therefore what you choose to have meaning is up to you. So I choose not to be stinky. Although I admit, I only wash the Terrible Towel after the season, lest I wash out all the game experience. I have several commemorative Towels, but I only use one for games… the original I bought in the Pittsburgh Airport in 1996. Been through a lot with that Towel and I’ll twirl that thing until it’s threadbare.

So I’ve been spreadsheet tracking my mojo for the last four years and we have won Super Bowls in 2 of them. You’re welcome.

All of which brings me to tonight, the cusp of a new season. This year I’m going to blog my season in mojo for the first time. Tonight, I’m going with the Willie Parker replica jersey over a gold block-letter Steelers tee shirt, with white mesh Steelers shorts. I always start the season wearing the replicas.
I tend to save the authentic jerseys for attending the games or at least crucial late season games. Why? If we start off losing while wearing my best jersey, I have to slum for the rest of the season in the cheap jerseys. You can be mojo-conscious and stylin’.

So now it's time to get dressed… I am SO ready for some football…


Gina said...

Back in the Bradshaw years, I was all about Mike Webster. I loved him. I had shirts and posters and photos, but never a jersey. As a child, I went to a signing and brought along a cassette recorder so I could TAPE US talking. I was that much of a fan. Even up to the last years of his life, I still went to every appearance he made. And I still don't have my jersey, dammit. One day I will have a beautiful (expensive) #52 to wear...

Anonymous said...

I took off my Parker Shirt at half time, it was not working. It was also too hot to wear as I was starting to sweat. I put on a Tee from super bowl XL and it worked better. Hope Troy recovers soon. I felt bad for Hines, he never fumbles. Glad his team mates picked him up. Not much talk about a fumble when we win.

Mary Ann said...

Sparkly WARD 86 for me every home Sunday. My sister in law from Pgh. gave me that shirt so its MOJO is super strong.
Now for Thursday's opener, I chose a white T which worked well enough but not for Hines. Back to 86 from now on.
Mother-Mojo is limited but sometimes works for late games. I changed into robe and slippers for the final OT winning field goal. Kickers always get my most enthusiastic vibes no matter what garb.