Aaron Harang, pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, had to know that his start was going to be a rocky one as he faced the St. Louis Cardinals. Standing on the pitching mound for the Reds, he was clearly shown wearing a baseball jersey that said he played for a team in "CNCINNATI." Somehow the company that made the jerseys for the Reds misspelled the city on the front of Harang's away jersey leaving out the first "I".
The Reds lost that game by the score of 5-1. No doubt the blown city name on the front of the jersey will take the blame. Hey, the players will be stand-up guys about missing their opportunities to break the game wide open early on. The hitters will cite their inability to get runners home in scoring opportunities and Harang will probably give some cliche about his control. But in the back of their minds will be the misspelled word on the front of Harang's jersey.
Baseball players, moreso than their counterparts in other team sports, are known to be highly superstitious individuals. Watch baseball players as they go through the course of a game. They do the same things over and over. Routine? Rhythm? Nah. Superstition. Had Aaron Harang won that start last night and pitched superbly, he would have wanted that jersey to be the one he used for every away start for the rest of the year. That jersey could have been his good luck charm, his ju-ju for the rest of the season. But now it would be bad luck. It would be the jersey that he got shelled in because of the misspelled name.
Instead it will become what it should have become; a jersey that will be corrected and soon. Funny thing superstition. It shows itself in some of the most interesting places. One place it appears is in the church. If you don't believe that just ask the average Christian why they pray. Their response will probably be, "Because it works." That sounds good on the outside, but that is superstition talking. The basis of superstition is that if something works keep doing it. So people keep praying.
Things from church attendance to a particular pew in the sanctuary are the source of practical superstitions employed by the average Christian. "If I attend church my life will be better." "I'll shake the preacher's hand every Sunday." How should the average Christian respond to the question I mentioned about prayer? What they should answer is, "Because God hears and answers my prayers and I believe in God." Jesus said, "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." Matthew 6:6 Prayer doesn't work. God does.
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