I was feeling pretty peacock-like when Tamika Catchings had a season-high 28 points in Tuesday’s Indiana victory over Washington. Why? Because I’d already planned to write about her for ESPN.com, and so the story ran Wednesday after she’d had this great game.
But then Thursday, Catchings went 0 for 9 from the field and didn’t score in the Fever’s loss to San Antonio. I was a peacock no more. My pride went asunder.
This phenomenon – what happens to a player/team right after I write about them – was dubbed “Vojo” by one of my friends a few years ago. At the time, it was because bad stuff – a loss or an injury – seemingly kept occurring to the subjects of my articles after they were published.
I think the all-time worst case of Vojo was at the 2008 Big 12 tournament. I’d had a feature story done on Kansas State’s Kimberly Dietz for a couple of weeks, but there never seemed to be the right time or enough space for it to run in the newspaper. It kept getting pushed back. Well, finally it was the day of K-State’s Big 12 tournament opener, and the Dietz feature finally ran.
She’d had a terrific senior season, a great example of a player who maximized all her potential in her final year. So there was this story all about what a strong finish she was having to her college career, and …
K-State was playing the noon game in the tournament. Meaning some late risers might not even have gotten their papers off their driveways, let alone read the story on Dietz, when a terrible thing happened at Municipal Auditorium in KC. Early in the game against Iowa State, Dietz stepped backward and planted her leg … and her knee buckled.
You know what it was: a freakin’ ACL.
The evil of Vojo had struck again, completely beyond my control. I felt terrible, as if I’d jinxed her. I wondered why it couldn’t have been my knee that popped instead of Dietz’s. (Incidentally, a couple of weeks ago I did something to my knee while I was playing tennis, and at first I thought, “Oh, no! Please not the ACL.” Then I quickly realized I don’t move fast enough to create the force it would take to rip my ACL. I don’t know what it was, but it went away in a couple of days.)
Anyway, the truth is that Vojo sometimes is good, not bad.
OK, actually, the real truth is that there is no such thing as Vojo, there are only coincidences.
However, if Catchings has a good All-Star Game, it will be because the Vojo forces for positive and negative were waging war, and the good won.
Or maybe it’s just because, you know, she’s really a great player.