Saturday, April 30, 2005

Give up cable for my Pistons?

In the comments from last night's attempt at a "live blog," Evan proposed that my cable privileges be taken away for the benefit of Pistons fans everywhere.

"... as a result of your watching the Pistons and their losing, I'll be asking all the cable channels to cut off service to Iowa. You bastard."

And that's a legitimate beef. Is it worth my being able to watch a Pistons game in Iowa if the result is a loss? Of course not. And I would gladly hand over my cable service for the greater good. I think the Pistons lost for other reasons. Yet Evan is correct - it was my fault. Allow me to explain:

See, I watched Game 1 of the Pistons-Sixers series last Sunday, and the Pistons won. However (and that's a Stephen A. Smith "however!" if you know what I mean - okay, you don't), I still unwittingly fulfilled my duties as a Detroit sports fan. How?

I didn't watch the first quarter of the game on television.

Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Ian? Well, please let me continue, Arnold:

During the Detroit Red Wings' Stanley Cup Championship runs (And Liz, one of those wins - 1997 - was over the Philadelphia Flyers - HA!), I came upon an interesting finding. When I didn't watch the first period of a Red Wings playoff game (because of work or school), the team would win. When I watched the game on TV from the beginning, they lost. After the Wings' lost a second game in their 1997 first-round series versus St. Louis, I realized this was much too serious a trend to be trifled with. So from then on, I refused to watch the first period of a Wings playoff game on television.

Friends would snicker as we met at sports bars to watch games, yet I would insist on going out to my car to listen to my radio. My dad and uncle were baffled as I went to a bedroom or out to the car while the game was on TV. But the proof was beyond a reasonable doubt. The Wings' record was incredible - they only lost two more games - when I did this.

Black & white? Was 1997 that long ago?

The next season, the mojo continued. Whenever I slipped and forgot my responsibilities, the Wings lost. But when I remembered not to watch the first period on TV, they almost always won. The mojo eventually wore off for me and the Red Wings, but such things move in ebbs and flows. The spell hit a dry run. It came back for one last burst in 2002, as the Wings won again, but like a shooting star, the magic eventually faded out.

But last year, the mojo rose again - this time for the Detroit Pistons. I denied its return. Surely, the well had run dry. However, the results were unmistakable. When I missed the starts of Pistons games because of class, the team won. When I could watch games from the beginning, they lost. I knew the magic had undoubtedly returned when Detroit won Game 1 of the NBA Finals. All the so-called experts thought the Los Angeles Lakers would easily stomp the Pistons. How did this happen? The answer was clear to me: my friend Eric and I got to Sticks in Ypsilanti late in the first quarter. Four games later (I had the night off during their one loss), the Pistons won their third NBA championship.

2004 = vivid color, baby!

Evan, you're right - I am a bastard. I forgot my responsibilities as a Detroit sports fan. What happened last night? My TV was tuned to ESPN for the start of the Pistons-Sixers game. And Detroit lost. I apologize to you and all of my fellow Pistons fans.

Tomorrow's game starts at noon CST on ESPN. I'll be at brunch. Or the movies. Where I won't be is in front of the TV at the beginning of Game 4. Too much is at stake to test the fates.