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New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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The Sports Curse: Fact or Fiction?

It’s spooky season, kiddos.
Sophia Di Iorio
(Illustration by Sophia Di Iorio)

As Halloween approaches, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at some of sports’ biggest alleged curses and see just how ridiculous some of them are. From a video game cover to a literal mid-game earthquake, there have been some weird and unexplainable instances in sports over the years. Whether you believe in them or not, you have to admit there’s something spooky in the air.

The Drake Curse
Check out Drake’s Instagram and you’ll be sure to find photos of the Canadian rapper dressed in countless different jerseys. He’s the epitome of a bandwagon fan, and he’s not ashamed of it. But with great Instagram clout comes great embarrassment — especially when your many teams consistently lose and everyone pins it on you.

In 2015, Serena Williams was upset in the U.S. Open with Drake in attendance. Last year, Drake publicly supported Conor McGregor ahead of his UFC match against Khabib Nurmagomedov. McGregor went on to lose the match.

In April, after Drake posed for a photo with Paris Saint-Germain defender Layvin Kurzawa, PSG suffered its worst league defeat in nearly 20 years. Later that month, Drake showed up to game four of the NHL playoffs, supporting his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs went on to lose that game 6-2.

The Drake curse is one of the few curses that has transcended sports and become embedded in pop culture — unfortunately for the rap star.

Of course, the Toronto Raptors famously beat the curse to win their first NBA championship in franchise history last season.

The Aaron Ramsey Death Curse
This is arguably the scariest one on the list. Whenever former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey would score a goal, someone famous would pass away a few days later. The curse reportedly started on Aug. 22, 2009 when Ramsey scored a goal against Portsmouth. Three days later, former U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy passed away. Since then, there’s been Steve Jobs, Whitney Houston and  Paul Walker, just to name a few.

Ramsey himself has obviously called the curse “ridiculous,” and even went on to say, “That’s just a crazy rumour. Although I took out some baddies!” Classic Aaron.

Aces-Mystics Voodoo
I don’t even know what to call this one. All I know is that almost every time the Las Vegas Aces and Washington Mystics have faced each other in the past two WNBA seasons, some weird stuff has happened.

Last August, the Aces were stuck with over 25 hours of travel delays and had to forfeit their upcoming game against the Mystics — the first forfeit in league history. This season, halfway through a game between the two teams, an earthquake suddenly shook the stadium, forcing the game to be paused and resumed a month later. During another game, the shot clock randomly stopped working — the players seemed to have fun with it, though.

If that doesn’t bespeak this strange and unfortunate curse, then I don’t know what will. These two teams seem destined for more spooky and strange scenarios.

The Kardashian Curse
I’m sure you remember Kim Kardashian’s famous 72-day-long marriage to then-NBA player Kris Humphries. Humphries was a solid role player for the then-New Jersey Nets at the time, and even averaged a career-high 13.8 points. After that whole debacle, however, his performance dropped off significantly and, within a few years, he became irrelevant.

While that was probably the most high-profile case of the Kardashian curse, it was by no means the only one. Rashad McCants, James Harden, Jordan Clarkson, Blake Griffin, Ben Simmons and more have been caught up in the Kardashian drama — I’ve honestly lost count.

The Madden Cover Curse
Once one of the more popular sports curses, the Madden cover curse seems to have died out a little with time. The curse goes something like this: if a player is featured on the cover of EA Sports popular Madden NFL video game, they will likely suffer an injury or drop off in performance the following season.

The curse has affected the careers of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and even Packers legend Brett Favre. Upon taking a closer look, it might even seem the curse was alive and well from 1999 to 2009, during which all but one cover athlete seemed to suffer after being featured on the cover. However, since 2009, just four players have seen their careers suffer significantly afterward. Perhaps the Madden curse is slowly weakening. Save us, Patrick Mahomes!

The Sports Girl is a weekly sports column that will feature a girl’s take on sports. Yes, a girl. Yes, on sports.

A version of this article appears in the Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, print edition. Email Bela Kirpalani at [email protected].

About the Contributors
Bela Kirpalani, Sports Editor
Bela is a senior in CAS studying history. Born and raised on Long Island, her love for bagels knows no bounds (the same goes for blueberries, but that really doesn't have anything to with Long Island). She also loves all things sports — how fitting — and finds way too many unfunny things funny. When not in the newsroom, she is probably off playing FIFA or wishing she were playing FIFA.
Sophia Di Iorio, Creative Director
Sophia Di Iorio is a sophomore in Liberal Studies but more importantly, she's a Capricorn. Don't ask her what her major is. When she's not watching scary documentaries and horror movies, she can be found in one of New York City's many museums. Look for her with the black wardrobe and fun earrings. Are you addicted to iced coffee, too? Let's talk about it! Contact her via carrier pigeon or follow her on instagram @sophia.m.diiorio.
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