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Lucky charms

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Let me preface this column by saying first and foremost that I’m not trying to rub it in. I wanted the Canucks to beat the Flames too.

However, my hometown team has made it to the second round and as a fan, I’ve got a lot on my mind right now.

Here’s the dilemma.

On Sunday night by the end of the first overtime of the Leafs vs. the Sens Game 6, our nerves were frayed.

We really wanted the Leafs to win this one, to put an end to the series, to put us out of our misery and set us on our way to the Cup.

My boyfriend decided it was time to take matters into his own hands. Out came the Leafs sweatshirt. The Leafs blanket came next, out of the laundry basket and onto the couch. Eddie Belfour’s hockey pad key chain was on the coffee table.

All that remained was the Leafs bear I bought him on my last trip home to make the lucky charms complete.

I could sense a rising panic when he couldn’t immediately find the bear. Soon there was a frenzy of activity. Boxes were coming out of the crawl space, clothes were thrown around the room and the game was about to start up again.

"I can’t find that bear," he called. "Where did you put it?"

Interestingly enough, he had never shown any interest in this bear until the Leafs hit double overtime in a critical game.

But before our apartment was turned upside down I intervened.

Why is it that men can’t actually see things that are staring right at them?

When I pointed out the bear on the dressing table, calm was restored and focus was back on the overtime.

He sat down in his blue sweater, blanket draped over his shoulders, Leafs bear sitting beside him on the couch, eyes trained on the TV.

And almost as soon as he got settled on the couch draped in his Leaf paraphernalia, the Sens scored. Game Over.

He couldn’t believe it. He had done everything he possibly could on his end to help them win and still, they lost.

It was a bitter pill to swallow. More importantly, the loss prompted a number of theories about what went wrong. Maybe the bear was bad luck he pondered. Maybe the blanket should have stayed in the laundry basket until it was washed.

And it got me thinking a little about good luck charms and why we need them in times of crisis.

I don’t keep any talismans around me on a regular basis but a few years ago when a family member was very sick and we were spending a lot of time in the hospital, I kept a little good luck charm close to me at all times.

My friend had given me a small stone that said "strength". Every morning I put that little stone in my pocket and I would put it in the palm of my hands when we were talking to the doctor.

There was something about that little stone that just made me feel better and safer.

(To think of all the money I could have made had I started picking up smooth stones from the ground and writing inspirational words on them!)

After our ordeal in the hospital I passed that stone onto another friend who was also going through some tough times. It had served me well and I felt better knowing she had my stone.

That must have been the same way my mom felt when she gave me a little gold angel to pin on my jacket about 10 years ago.

She’s not normally very sentimental like that so the present took me by surprise. I realized it was a way to make her feel better as she watched me get on the plane for university.

I’d like to think that she thought the angel could watch over me while I was hard at work in the library or slogging through lengthy term papers but realistically, she was probably hoping that angel could help see me home safely from the bars every weekend.

Unfortunately my parents have absolutely no illusions about how I spent the bulk of my university career.

I don’t know what happened to that little gold angel but if its job was to protect me and keep me safe from harm, then it worked like a charm. I made it through university fairly unscathed with only a few minor mishaps along the way.

For my mom it was a last ditch effort to keep me protected as I left the nest.

The only thing that little gold angel could do was give her a small measure of hope that someone or something was watching over me when I was far away from her own watchful eyes.

These good luck charms are our way of trying to control a situation that we really have absolutely no way of controlling. It’s our way of covering all our angles to make sure nothing goes wrong.

And if that makes us feel better and more secure, then by all means, it’s a good thing.

So that brings me to the next burning question. What are we going to do about the Maple Leafs in the second round as they go up against the Flyers? Our stuffed bear could have been their downfall in Game 6. We don’t know that for sure.

The dirty blanket could have also sent things into a tailspin. That has yet to be determined.

One thing is for sure. We won’t be doing anything on our end the jinx this now.

I said to one friend this morning that I thought we were going all the way to the Cup this year.

A diehard Leafs fan, he declined to comment.

"I say that every year and it never happens," he said.

He’s doing his part, keeping his mouth shut, making no predictions and hoping against hope that 2004 will finally be the year.

I hope I haven’t jinxed anything with this article.

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