An blunder so grave, during a impulse so key, had to be justification of a abuse on Boston. But there’s a twist: Buckner was wearing his aged Cubs batting glove underneath his mitt when he screwed up. “No consternation Buckner missed that ball,” Paul Lukas wrote in an essay for ESPN. “He never had a chance.”
And that’s a thing about curses. They try to shuffle people’s clarity of destiny, a delicately assembled novella in sports fandom as it is. In reality, championships are won and mislaid with some multiple of talent, physics, meteorology, and reticent luck. But to a fan, everything—really, everything—can be meaningfully connected to a outcome of a game. Wishing for a group to win isn’t enough, nonetheless wearing a right shirt—or flourishing a right beard, or partaking in a correct pre-game ritual—sometimes is.
And when that’s still not enough? It contingency be a curse. What else could explain a vanquish of better opposite all hope? A abuse is some-more absolute than any player’s abilities, bigger than a team, larger even than a fandom. Which means a abuse account runs opposite to so most of how people differently rivet in sports fandoms, in that particular control—or a apparition of it—is seen as paramount.
Contradictory nonetheless it might seem, this is all partial of “a beloved, time-honored diversion steeped in nostalgia,” Mickey Bradley and Dan Gordon wrote in their book, Haunted Baseball. “[Curse stories] yield a lens by that to perspective a team’s past—usually a distressing past—that connects beating to tradition and legacy.”
By their really nature, abuse stories comparison a singular championship or season. This speak’s to baseball’s deepest informative value, and a approach a person’s adore of it is shared—often utterly intimately—with the people they adore most.
If ball can be poetry, and it can, afterwards because shouldn’t it be theme to a account manners of epic literature? Belief in a abuse speaks to something deeper about a game. It has a energy to rouse a team’s history, and a fan’s devotion, to an art form. Mourning nonetheless another loss, inheriting lifetimes of disappointment, and rooting for a group anyway—this isn’t only a form of mania or blind optimism. It’s an act of devotion.
In a end, a illusory ball game, or an meaningful curse, is zero some-more than a good story. But a good story, told a right way, can be everything.
* This essay creatively mischaracterized a timing of a Bill Buckner occurrence in 1986. It occurred during a World Series, not progressing in a playoffs. We bewail a error.