I have no problem believing in the old Sports Illustrated jinx — it always seems as soon as a team hits the cover, it loses.
There’s part of me that wonders if I write a story for the sports front page, am I dooming that particular team or athlete? I realize in my head what I write has nothing to do with how a team or player performs, but against all reason, my heart sometimes says otherwise.
So, you can’t imagine the relief I felt at seeing Jacksonville State ace Tiffany Harbin pitch her team to the Ohio Valley Conference tournament title this past week.
I wrote about her more than a month ago as she was getting within shouting distance of a bunch of school records.
Big story. Big photo. Front page of sports.
And she promptly finished out the regular season 0-4. The statistics show she didn’t pitch badly, but all the same, she wasn’t able to snag a win.
Again, I fully realize my 15-minute interview with her before just another April practice had nothing at all to do with her results. Absolutely nothing.
But when she won four games in a row at the OVC tournament, allowed only three earned runs in the event and took home a much-deserved MVP award, I couldn’t help but feel awfully good for her and her teammates for overcoming the power (or lack of it) the Edwards jinx inflicted.
Also, I feel extra good about something her coach, Jana McGinnis, emphasized for the story about her pitching ace: Harbin is especially good at putting the past behind her — good or bad. And in the OVC tournament, she proved that in a big way.
Readers, I now need your help. As JSU prepares for regionals, please don’t mention this opinion piece to her, her teammates, her coaches, her classmates — heck, don’t mention it to anyone who even lives in Jacksonville.
Contact Sports Editor Mark Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-235-3570. Follow on Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.