Are Sports Curses Real?

The Curse of 1940, which supposedly prevented the New York Rangers from winning the Stanley Cup for 54 years. The Curse of the Billy Goat, which was seen as the cause behind an 108-year championship drought for the Chicago Cubs and a fan’s life being changed forever. Perhaps most infamously, there was the Curse of the Bambino, a supernatural jinx placed on the Boston Red Sox after owner Harry Frazee sold legendary slugger Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in order to finance a play, and then ace pitcher Pedro Martinez proceeded to miss the remainder of the 2001 season after taunting a long-deceased Sultan of Swat. What about the Buffalo Sports Curse, which apparently prevents professional sports teams in Buffalo from winning championships, perhaps most transparently exemplified by the notorious “No Goal” in the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals, or the Bills having lost four consecutive Super Bowls, and even the Madden Curse?

There are certainly more esoteric “curses” or mystical forces at work, according to many fans and pundits alike, even athletes themselves. There’s the Curse of Bobby Lane; though allegedly having expired ten years ago is still very much alive considering the Lions have won one playoff game since 1957. Next up is the Curse of Rocky Colavito, which has seemingly ensured the Cleveland Indians will never win another World Series.

You get the idea by now. The entire concept behind a curse, at least in sports, involves paranormal or unearthly forces generating circumstances that create chronic periods of mediocrity for our beloved teams. Ghosts or everlasting words from disgruntled players, coaches or executives coming into effect, rotten luck, abysmal management, whatever.

Many have pondered as to whether these curses are real, or if they are simply a product of sensationalism.

Some fans, such as this one, often resort to unorthodox measures in order to cleanse their teams of any bad karma. But for every fan who puts stock into the metaphysical, there are probably just as many who downplay any kind of celestial intervention.

Keep in mind, there are palpable reasons as to why many of these currently or previously cursed teams failed and endured generations of futility. The Red Sox, for example, had once had a very disconcerting history of employing black players; they were the last MLB team to have a black player after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, and did not widen the parameters of integration until 12 years after Robinson made his Major League debut.

The Rangers dealt with mismanagement and poor drafts. Those Buffalo sports teams who came up inches short of winning it all were simply not good enough on most occasions, and the same can be said of any team out there.

That is not to say that sports-related curses are not real. The truth is, no one really knows. Could a combined 196 years of no World Series championships between the Cubs and Red Sox have been at least partially attributable to invisible malevolent forces? Could the historic city of Buffalo still not have a Stanley Cup or a Super Bowl champion because of a hex?

No one may never know. Fans can only keep on hoping that their cherished teams can eventually have a parade in celebration of a long-awaited championship.

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