Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Steelers trump the Titans : a lesson in "sports karma"


I'd call it a clash of the sports 'Titans' if one of the teams involved weren't already named that, having the potential to result in some serious confusion. Instead, lets say that two of this season's predicted top contenders, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans, met Thursday night to kick off the NFL season.

The Steelers won 13-10 in overtime, Polamalu-less (due to a knee injury he sustained earlier in the game which is predicted to put him out for 3-6 weeks) thanks to Roethlisberger's talent and use of a no-huddle offense, and the reliability of the formula: Football + Reed's Toe x upward velocity = 3.

The purpose of this post isn't to discuss my opinion of the game, but rather to discuss my theory of sports karma.

The idea of karma is that one's actions determine their destiny. What goes around comes around. If you do bad things, bad things will happen to you, and if you do good things, good things will happen to you. My favorite example is the story of Hercules involving Diomedes. Diomedes raised flesh-eating horses and was ultimately killed by being fed to those same horses; the evil you put out into the world will come back on you.

Sports karma is the same concept. Unsportsmanlike conduct will come back to haunt you. Last year the Shitans [sic] made quite the showing of stomping on and blowing their noses in the Terrible Towel, a cherished Steelers sports symbol and fan favorite, after winning a game over the Steelers.

In Thursday night's game, the first time the Steelers and Titans clashed since the terrible (pun intended) incident, which was a more-or-less even matchup between two very skilled teams, the Titans hubris did them in. Sports karma.

The same happened in '07 after the Patriots cheating scandal was uncovered. While they went on to a 16-0 season ("This won't stand long. God won't let it stand this way long." -Renee Zellweger / Cold Mountain), they lost the Super Bowl to the Giants with only 30 seconds left. Patriots, 0, "Cheaters never prosper" addage, 1.

In game 6 of this past season's Pittsburgh Penguins / Philadelphia Flyers NHL playoff matchup, the Pens started down 0-3. When things seemed bleak, Fedotenko managed to score the Pens' first goal of the game with 4:35 left in the 2nd period. He threw his arms in the air to celebrate his first playoff goal in five years. As he bent down to pick up his stick, Flyer defenseman Braydon Coburn knocked him to the ice, which, in traditional hockey-style, lead to a full-on good-old-fashioned brawl. As a firm sports karma believer, I knew the ramifications of Coburn's cheap hit. We were gonna win this. End of story. The rest of the game was a flurry of Pens' goals. Five in a row, to be exact. Pens won the game 5-3, and the series 4 games to 2 that night.

Sports karma assisted the Penguins again in their series against the Washington Capitals when, in game 4 of the series, Alex Ovechkin injured Penguins' Sergei Gonchar [a former Caps player and Obitchkin [sic] teammate] in a knee-on-knee hit. Currently living in DC, I told my Caps-fans-friends they had just sealed their own fate with that low blow. The Penguins won the series in 7 games. Don't mess with Pittsburgh.

At the end of the day, I truly believe in life you should be a good and kind person and in sports a good and sporting player. If these past examples and Thursday night's game are any proof, it matters.

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