CRAIG GRAU: Lucky 13? - Tucson Local Media: Sports

CRAIG GRAU: Lucky 13?

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Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 11:00 pm

Again with the superstition that I don’t even quarter, so let’s call it symbolism this time.

Gate 13.

The Week 1 Wildcat football tickets riding shotgun in my wallet point me toward Arizona Stadium’s southwest-side triskaidekaphobic portal.

Gate 13 (and its associated phobia) looms, as bacteria multiply across the canvas of Ron Gronkowski’s throat.

The sophomore tight end — who offensive wrench Sonny Dykes envisioned a 100-catch man — is out for the week, and I greet Mike Stoops’ payoff season via Jason Voorhees’ jersey number.

Are the Football Gods sending some message? I doubt it. But still — can I crawl through a maintenance shaft to my seat?

Certain tests are guaranteed in the life of every sports fan. Bad trades and Cookie Monster coaching meltdowns. Quarterback concussions and cruddy new horizontal ticket designs.

But fear not Arizona; bask in immunity’s sunlight. The ‘Cats spread attack boasts a fusillade of receivers, as 27-point favorites for Saturday’s game. Only a team-wide strain of mono would deliver Idaho’s salvation.

But I’m still tasked with a faith leap that Asian gamblers wouldn’t extend to Las Vegas’ MGM Grand, until the casino dropped millions to remodel its “unlucky” lion’s head doorway.

Lowly sportswriters can’t match the Yakuza’s pull.

During collegiate mornings, I’d stroll red-eyed and classward up North Cherry Avenue, through the ticket tunnel, for a whiff of fresh-cut turf. I never once used Gate 13, and managed to graduate.

Coincidence? Don’t answer.

Gronkowski notwithstanding, I’m optimistic that Stoops’ Next Year Express finds its destination this time — though that stance draws a few darts, from those across the office who still insist the sports desk was right last year, to call for a coaching change.

I can’t wait for that 2007-model siren to be chopped down.

And come this Saturday, I can’t wait to pay $13 for the same parking space I once scalped, from some drunken kid who’ll later pass out in my old bedroom.

Leave triskaidekaphobia to the sissies. Football season is back, and Willie Tuitama just might lead the AirZona offense through 13 games this year — bowl included.

Go ‘Cats!

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