The Genie and the Jinx

If wishes were balls, then jinxes wouldn’t be smiling

It was raining in the morning, and I have to skip my morning run. So I climb on my spin bike, switch on the TV, tune in to the sports channels, and hope against hope there is something of interest.

My luck is in. A mouthwatering Champions League matchup between my favorite Barcelona team and Manchester City is underway! The deadly strike trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez against a team managed by their ex-coach, Pep Guardiola. If I had been asked what match I wanted to watch, this was it.

The only issue is my personal jinx.

Basically, if I watch a match, my jinx makes my team lose. Always. This puts me in a bit of a quandary. Should I watch the match? Or should I do what a true Barca supporter would do? Which is switch channels.

But what’s the point of supporting a team if you can’t watch them play? In any case, Barca seems to be on a roll today, launching one fluid attack after another on the City goal.

Forget the jinx. Who believes these silly superstitions anyway? The odds are against City winning as they haven’t yet beaten Barcelona in five matches. I ignore my instinct to switch the channel, get on the bike, and start pedalling away.

A few minutes later, Neymar sends a pass down the centre. Messi slows down ever so slightly, and then pokes it neatly past the defender and the goalie. I can’t believe it. My team is giving a lesson in tiki-taka, and I’m actually watching it. My adrenaline surges, and my legs go racing.

But the jinx was just toying with me.

Barca’s Roberto messes up a pass and City launch a counter attack against the flow. To my horror, they score. My heart sinks but things get worse. The goal reverses the game’s flow. City attacks the Barca goal again and again. Something has to give. Barca fouls, and City gets a free kick. The City striker launches a missile that soars over the wall, and though the goalie gets a hand to it, he can’t keep it out.

An hour or so later, the game is over. The score is 3–1, with Barca well beaten. Their defence was weak today, maybe because a few key players were out injured. Still, Barca is topping their group on points and should qualify for the next round, so all is not lost.

I turn off the TV, and notice the smiling Buddha who sits beside my TV is a bit dusty. As I rub him clean, I can’t help thinking that if he was a genie, I would be getting a wish right now, and I’d be wishing the jinx was a football. Being kicked for 90 minutes would be perfect justice for that sadistic spoilsport.

I put away the spin bike and notice the timer has clocked more than an hour of cycling, and I hadn’t even felt the strain. The pall of gloom lifts a bit. Maybe that game wasn’t a complete loss.

In your face, jinx.

it’s an odd world

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