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  • Walt Mussell

My Fault (Man-erism: Thinking I Affect My Teams)


Years ago, I wrote a book (never published) about all of the habits of mine that my wife finds annoying. I contend that these are typical male habits. My wife says that they are specific to me. Love to hear your thoughts. I'm now posting these habits weekly on my blog. Please let me know if you agree with me or my wife.


The habit below is from the section Free Throws from the Line of Scrimmage


When I watch sports on TV, it drives my wife nuts. I follow several teams at both the professional and collegiate levels. However, the one I watch most is Auburn University. Like any sports fan, I gyrate around as if my movements will compel our running backs through the other team’s defense. Seeing this, my wife says, “You should just turn the thing off and read the score in the morning. Nothing you do will change the outcome.”

I thought her opinion would change if I could just introduce her to the spirit of it all. Her alma mater, Drew University, doesn’t have football or any other major sport. So, I decided to take her to her first college football game.


Auburn vs. Alabama.


Yes, I know. Taking someone to their first college game and having it be the Iron Bowl. It’s like taking someone who’s never been in an airplane and making their first ride a fighter jet.


It was 1999 and we’d been married only a few years. This game was Alabama’s fifth trip to Auburn, as the series had been played for many years in Birmingham. Auburn won the first four meetings in Auburn but lost that day. I knew the reason.

“It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have done it,” I said.

“What?” my wife asked.

“It’s my fault we lost. I shouldn’t have brought you.”

Yes, I know saying that to my lovely wife makes me a jackass. Still, I vowed to never take her to another game.


This isn’t the only time my actions hurt my team. I also ended Auburn’s 15-game winning streak during the 2003-2004 seasons. How? Well, when we lived in Oregon, I did an e-mail column that I sent out to the Auburn faithful in the Northwest. I enjoyed writing it, but my wife hated it, saying this hobby of mine took up too much time. After a devastating loss to Georgia in 2003, I gave in to her and ended my column. The loss to Georgia was followed with wins over Alabama and Wisconsin. Clearly, it was my writing the column that contributed to the losses, so I didn’t write it the next season at all. The football team went 13-0.


Prior to the 2005 season, my wife came to me and said, “Honey, I’m sorry I made you end your column a couple of years ago.”

I was stunned, “What made you change your mind?”

“I read all the e-mails you got after you ended it. A lot of people really enjoyed it. I also went into the Sent file and read some of your stuff. It’s not bad.”

Ecstatic, I started anew with the 2005 opener against Georgia Tech.

Auburn lost.


No matter how much the offensive coordinator criticized his own game plan and play calling, I knew it was my fault. All that was left was for Auburn to confiscate my computer.

I have tried explaining this level of karma to my wife, but her response was that I’m nuts. Eventually, though, she tried reverse psychology. After one loss, my wife said, “You’re right. It was your fault. Maybe if you hadn’t watched the game, they would have won.”


I don’t even want to think about going there.


Postscript: The author also takes responsibility for ending the Atlanta Braves string of 14 straight Division titles, but it would take too long to explain why.