Oct 17, 2011
Jimmie Johnson is a matter-of-fact guy, so it is not surprising that he isn’t worried about curses, hexes or just plain bad luck. He’s the kind of guy who typically makes his luck. And because he’s so directed toward racing, it is not surprising that the winner of five consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles has been utterly unaware of the so-called “curse of the SI cover.” He’s been too busy winning championships to read a magazine that typically concentrates on stick-and-ball sports. But no matter how he feels about it, he is trying to defy the odds by allowing his picture to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. Bad karma seems to accompany those who appear on the cover, and it has happened often enough that it has grown from one or two odd coincidences into a real -- if unexplainable -- phenomenon. But in his effort to avoid the curse of the cover, Jimmie Johnson has a secret weapon: my wife.
About a year ago, I wrote a column here about the curious connection between my wife and the talented race driver. She got the opportunity to meet Johnson at the premiere of the Pixar movie Cars six years ago, and she was so taken with his manly charm and good looks that she became a Johnson fan on the spot. Since then, my wife has been a stalwart follower of Johnson’s exploits on the track -- rarely missing a race -- and has always pulled hard for Johnson in his battles with Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and the dreaded, dastardly duo Kurt and Kyle Busch.
Sure, a lot of people have become fans of Johnson’s over the years. He seems like a genuine guy and has a real talent that is deserving of a strong fan base. But here is the difference between my wife’s fandom and that of others: Before he met my wife, Johnson had never won a Sprint Cup title; since meeting her and acquiring her as a fan, he has never lost a Sprint Cup title.
So, with my wife’s fandom as Johnson’s lucky charm, you can see why he is willing to confront the possible hoodoo of the curse of the SI cover. He has a powerful force -- and only I know how powerful -- on his side. My sense is that he will not only survive, but also thrive.
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