If Chantel Malcolm takes her eyes off the screen for even a moment, the Warriors are sure to score.
At the tail end of the Raptors’ narrow loss in Game 5, Malcolm went to get a drink and we all know what happened.
“I looked away,” she said, shaking her head. “I looked away.”
Malcolm first learned the terrible burden she carries in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Philadelphia. She got up to eat, thinking everything would be fine and immediately they were not. “My dad called me back in and said, ‘Chantel, you need to get back in here.’ ” She sat curled up in the exact same position for the rest of the game … until the famous Kawhi Leonard basket.
As she watches Game 6 in Jurassic Park with her mother Maxine, she promises there will be no blinking.
Meanwhile, if Janet Walters watches a game, the Raptors are sure to lose. As Toronto Star librarian Astrid Lange can attest, if Walters keeps her head down during a Raptors three-point attempt, they always succeed. “It’s safer if she doesn’t watch at all,” Lange has concluded.
This problem was first discovered during the playoffs years ago. “It was funny at first, and, even the bartenders started to notice, and the joke was, don’t look at the screen,” Walters said. Her mother no longer texts her score updates — it is another way the curse manifests itself — so for this crucial finals, Walters does her part for We The North by taking a long walk or watching Netflix, abstaining entirely from all Raptors-related content.
“I very much want them to win!” she said.
Superstitious beliefs and good luck charms abound among sports fans. Sometimes it manifests in clothing form. My friend and die-hard Raptors fan Daniela Djayaputra has not washed the Kyle Lowry jersey she wears at every game since the start of the Eastern Conference finals. Mayor John Tory has not yet dry-cleaned his iconic blazer.
For many it’s about the location. Some say they’ve been at Jurassic Park for every victory, so they aren’t going to tempt fate now. Some, Djayaputra included, have abandoned the viewing site of repeated losses (in her case, her mom’s house).
Philip LeDonne, has abandoned good-luck rituals entirely; there is no longer a need, with Kawhi Leonard playing for the Raptors, he said.
For Shawna Silver, it’s no coincidence that this crucial game for the Raptors falls on the 13th day of the month. For 13 was the favourite number of her father, Shawn Silver, a devoted Raptors fan who died two years ago. She knows he is watching and that the date, June 13, will be lucky for his team.
Alyshah Hasham is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime, courts, and, for a magical moment, the Raptors. Follow her on Twitter: @alysanmati