College Football fans are a traditionally a superstitious bunch. Perhaps it is our attempt to control or even influence something innately uncontrollable. Unless, of course, you are a coach or perhaps a booster at SMU in the mid 70s and 80s or at Miami (allegedly
in the 80s, 90s and the 2000s).
One former FSU baseball player recently shared that he wore the same pair of "Fear the Spear" socks every game day this football season. And, given his co-workers confirming (and strong) reaction to the story - apparently washing the socks would have ruined any accumulated mojo. Fortunately for those in close proximity, he retired the socks after the game.
Other fans bring totems for luck. One couple was taking a snap of their good luck charm before they entered the stadium and agreed to allow me to do the same. FSU Gnome brings (and brought) great favor to those who are brave enough to risk his wrath – and weight – and bag check at security.
For me, my now active superstition is numbers. As I write this - today is January the eleventh – or – 1-11.
We all laugh and joke about the coincidence, about "Angel Numbers," and how silly it is for adults to somehow "see" or even "sense" this unique number again and again. But - for some reason - we keep texting and keep noticing.
Before the game - we didn't know our specific seat numbers. So, on game day - when I picked up our three tickets and realized that we had seats 109, 110 & 111 - I felt it was a good omen and chose – natch - # 111.
Of course, caught up in well - everything - I promptly forgot about the seat number until the fourth quarter. However, after the utter elation of Kermit's blaze and abject misery of the following Auburn touchdown - as FSU took the field for the final drive I looked high across the field over the unquiet sea of orange. That small scoreboard showed the remaining time as 1:11. It was at this point I remembered my seat number, turned and touched the 111 and again faced the scoreboard. It was then that I knew we would win. This was different. This was no coincidence and no joke. Simply put, at that moment in time – at 1:11 remaining in the game, I believed.
1:11 scoreboard time later, as the last tiger fell, time seemed to stop as garnet and gold exploded into the night chill and we finally – finally - drowned out the Auburn faithful. The three of us added our voices to the many - shouting "we believe" to the firework sky.
Even then, we didn't realize the third 111.
The next day at breakfast – I opened the Orange County Register to the sports section. There it was – the now iconic photo of Kelvin Benjamin towering over Chris Davis for the game winning play - a brilliant mashup of height matchups, accuracy, soft hands and two jersey numbers in familiar yet uncanny order:
Kelvin Benjamin: #1
Chris Davis: #11
The third set of three 111s.