What’s up with luck?

I came within less than three points of winning my first fantasy football league championship this year. I even led through most, maybe all, of the last game. Until overtime and a field goal left me again in second place.

One thing I realized some time ago about fantasy football: it’s nearly all luck.

You can do all  the number crunching and trend listing you want, but you can’t control how one player will perform that day. Heck, a key player could be injured in the first quarter and you can’t swap him out for another one.

Which got me thinking about what makes some people appear lucky and others unlucky. I have a good friend who has had a string of bad luck since before I met her. Other people seem to go happily along in life, avoiding pitfalls and problems with ease.

So I did a simple search for things that give people bad or good luck. Kind of surprisingly, casting spells is apparently a pretty popular way to get a little good luck. Or send bad luck someone’s way, I guess. Since I’ve always found magic, spells and curses interesting but not something I’ve actually experienced or witnessed, let’s move on.

Bad luckHere are some things I found that cause bad luck (a non-inclusive list that I cannot vouch for):

  • Breaking a mirror = 7 years of bad luck.
  • Walking under a ladder can bring instant bad luck for 1 week.
  • A black cat crossing your path can bring bad luck for 24 hours.
  • Picking up a tails-up penny can bring bad luck…no time limit.
  • Spilling salt can bring bad luck…counter it by shaking the shaker over your left shoulder.
  • Shouting/yelling before 12 noon on Sunday can bring bad luck.
  • Shouting loud to a neighbor before 12 noon on Sunday can bring bad luck.
  • Giving a knife to a friend or family without getting a penny back from them can sever a relationship.
  • Pushing in a chair at a table at a home you were invited to can mean you will never return.
  • Cutting hair on Sunday can bring bad luck.
  • Putting your shoes on a table can bring bad luck.
  • Singing at the table while food is in front of you can bring bad luck.
  • Opening an umbrella indoors = unlimited bad luck, until the next storm comes.
  • Putting new shoes on a table invites death into the house, followed by the death of a family member, friend or even a pet.
  • Planting plants that have sharp thorns or pointed leaves in your garden bring bad luck.
  • Spitting on a pole.

4-leaf clover on white background

And here are things that bring good luck:

  • A 4-leaf clover, crickets, owls, frogs, ladybugs, white heather, meeting three sheep, nine peas in a pea pod, picking up a pin and dropping a glove, a horseshoe, peacock feathers.
  • Fingers crossed, knock on wood.
  • Saying “God bless you” when somebody sneezes.
  • A robin flying into the house.
  • Sneezing three times before breakfast.
  • Looking at the new moon over your right shoulder.
  • Spilling wine while proposing a toast.
  • Putting a dress on inside out.
  • Hearing crickets singing.
  • Cutting your hair during a storm.
  • Sleep facing south.
  • Picking up a pencil in the street.
  • Breaking clear and uncolored glass.
  • Walking in the rain.
  • Sleeping on un-ironed sheets.
  • Avoiding cracks in the sidewalk.
  • An itch on the top of your head.
  • Scissors hanging on a hook.
  • Carrying an acorn.
  • To pick up a piece of coal that has fallen in your path.
  • To have one’s garments caught up by a bush or briar when out walking is a promise of good luck involving monetary gain.
  • New enterprises will be fortunate if begun at the time of the new moon.
  • Meeting the same person twice – by chance – when you are out on business. It is even luckier if you encounter him or her once when you are setting out and again when you are returning.
  • Dolphins swimming near a ship.
  • A naked woman on board a boat is said to calm the seas.
  • Golfers can have a successful day on the course if they start their round with odd numbered clubs and don’t use balls with numbers higher than four.
  • To set out for golfing on a rainy day.
  • See a penny, pick it up; all day long you will have good luck.

And those were just the ones I found after quick and easy searches.

The only things I’ve done for good luck are to carry a ring that belonged to my dad (and reminds me of the ring from “Lords of the Ring”) and some polished rocks given to me by a friend’s little daughter. And a good luck coin with the inscription “May good luck always accompany the bearer.” It has a horseshoe on one side and an eagle and American flag on the other side.

Rocks and coinI can’t say any of them really brought me good luck. Although, come to think of it, I wasn’t wearing the ring or carrying the rocks or coin when my fantasy football team was playing. Hmmmmm…

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