Hartley: Chicken wings, Rolling Rock and Brazilian balls | AspenTimes.com

Hartley: Chicken wings, Rolling Rock and Brazilian balls

Todd Hartley
I’m With Stupid

Is there any way to quantify the value of fandom and superstition? I ask because I’m an unabashed supporter of the men’s and women’s basketball teams from the University of Connecticut, both of which just won national championships, and I’m pretty convinced that the men’s team couldn’t have won without my help.

Those of you who don’t know me very well might think that sounds reasonable; I do have some awesome point-guard skills with my right hand, after all, and once upon a time I could jump high enough to touch a basketball rim. There’s little doubt that I could thrive as a hoopster at the Division I level.

The truth, though, is that I didn’t actually suit up for the Huskies. I wasn’t a part of the coaching staff or a team manager, either. In fact, I was nowhere near Arlington, Texas, last week when the championship game was played, choosing instead to watch the game from my couch at home in Colorado.

So what, exactly, was my contribution to UConn’s success?

I drank Rolling Rock beer, ate chicken wings and I yelled at the TV to make sure the Huskies players knew what they were supposed to do. Without my advice and directions shouted from 1,000 miles away, those kids would have been completely lost out there.

OK, so maybe I didn’t really have anything to do with them winning the game, but I defy you to prove that. I ate wings and drank Rolling Rock, and UConn won the game. By the associative property that means that what I did worked.

I suppose this all requires a bit more explanation, so indulge me for a few paragraphs, if you will, and I’ll try to make sense of it.

You see, like virtually every college basketball program, UConn has an online fan forum. It’s called the Boneyard, and it’s a great place to find links to related articles and brush up on the latest news about the team.

One of the important recurring themes on the Boneyard, particularly when the team is playing well, is mojo, defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as: “A power that may seem magical and that allows someone to be very effective, successful, etc.”

For some reason, in the name of mojo, UConn fans are supposed to eat chicken wings and drink Rolling Rock before big games. I don’t know who thought this up, but I assume it dates back to the team’s first national championship in 1999. I imagine someone had wings and Rolling Rock prior to the Huskies’ epic victory over Duke and mentioned it on the Boneyard, and thus a superstition was born.

It all might sound kind of irrational, but when it comes to mojo, rationality has no place in the conversation. A perfect case in point would be what happened this past winter on the Boneyard.

Back when the basketball season was just starting, someone posted a link to an article from Brazil about a cancer organization whose mascot was a thing called “Senhor Testiculo.” For those of you who don’t speak Portuguese, that name translates to “Mr. Balls.”

Senhor Testiculo is a giant, hairy, smiling scrotum (you could look him up, but you’ll be sorry you did), and someone decided he needed a home on the Boneyard, so after every game a UConn player who did something ballsy was awarded the Senhor Testiculo award for that game.

This, apparently, was good for mojo, and by the end of the season Senhor Testiculo was everywhere, making the Boneyard a pretty disgusting place. But the thing is that Senhor Testiculo worked. Would they have won games without him? Probably, but as a fan you can’t take that chance, and so you get stuck with giant, smiling scrotums.

Anyway, all of that — mojo, Senhor Testiculo — was on my mind Monday afternoon as I nervously bided my time until the start of the championship game. For a moment, it dawned on me that it might make sense to watch the game naked, or at least with my own senhor outside my underwear, but that was just too disgusting to contemplate.

I needed to do something, however, so when my wife asked what I wanted for dinner, my response was immediate. “Chicken wings and Rolling Rock.” I’d never had them prior to a game before, but the stakes had never been higher, so I did what needed to be done without involving my testicles, and evidently it paid off.

You’re welcome, Huskies.

Todd Hartley’s mojo was once stolen by Dr. Evil, too, but his wife didn’t seem to notice. To read more or leave a comment, please visit http://zerobudget.net.