Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Kovak curse?

Since joining the Observer-Reporter in 1999, I've been called a lot of things anonymously and via email. Many of those things are unsuitable for print.

Coaches, fortunately, don't hide behind a computer when expressing opinions.

And, lately, coaches have called me one thing – a curse.

Earlier this week, I spoke with a coach for an upcoming story. The coach – a person whose work I greatly respect – asked toward the end of the interview if it would be possible to hold the story for a day or two. Considering it was a feature, didn't seem like a big deal.

When I asked why, I was told, "At Bentworth, we have something we call 'The Mike Kovak Observer-Reporter curse.' All the coaches laugh about it. Anytime you write a story, that teams goes out and loses its next game. Happens every time."

Only a few days earlier, I was interviewing a coach in a hallway following a game. As the coach walked back toward the locker room, he turned back to me and said, "Thanks for coming. We like you and all, but maybe you can start sending other guys to our games." When I asked why, I was told, "We always lose when you show up."

That's a line I've heard from numerous coaches, including Trinity football coach Ed Dalton. I can recall one occasion when I walked on to the football field at Trinity before a game and Dalton spotted me. He asked me to leave, jokingly I think.

It's all good-natured fun, but is there truth to the Kovak Curse?

Consider this evidence:

  • Peters Township basketball player Gabe Pritz was a recent Athlete of the Week selection. In Pritz's first game after the story ran, he suffered a finger injury and missed the Indians' next game.
  • Wash High's Josh Wise was also a pick for Athlete of the Week this basketball season. The day that story ran, Wise scored 10 points below his average and the Prexies lost to Cornell.
  • Chartiers-Houston volleyball was in the midst of a promising season. Shortly after a story ran, the Bucs lost junior Lacey Levers – a Division I – prospect to a knee injury and did not qualify for the postseason.
  • Ringgold quarterback Quad Law was injured against Derry Area, but doctors cleared him just before the Rams played a big game at Franklin Regional. A pregame feature ran on Law, who lasted one play before aggravating the injury and leaving.
  • Waynesburg's baseball team had its best season in a decade and took an 18-game win streak into the WPIAL Class AA championship. The Raiders lost by one run to eventual state champ Riverside on a fly ball that got lost in the sun. Covered Waynesburg's PIAA first round game days later, another one-run loss.
  • Washington's Dustin Fuller put together a memorable performance during the WPIAL Class AA championship meet, winning two golds and qualifying for states in three events. For his accomplishments, Fuller was the Athlete of the Week. A day after the story ran, he tumbled near the end of the 300 hurdle finals. He was in second place at the time.


prexie said...

after reading this i pulled a muscle in my back

Sarcastic Sword said...

Ringgold played a wild one vs G Salem with you in the press box and pulled out a victory.

mike_kovak said...

True. Probably best high school game (any sport) I watched in 2011. ... I was also at the FR game.

Sarcastic Sword said...

Mike - you being at the FR game had no effect on the outcome....When the opponent is bigger, faster, and better-coached, no curse is necessary.

mike_kovak said...

Maybe ... though I did write a Quad Law feature that ran the day of the FR game.

Sarcastic Sword said...

Since the feature was on Quad and he got re-injured, you can take credit for that.

mike_kovak said...

Hoping the 2012-13 school year will reverse the curse.

R. Keith Taylor said...

Mike, You need to run a feature on all of Ringgold opponents the game before they play them.

Anonymous said...


Do yourself a favor a take up needlepoint or something that you know more about than football!! I get sick and tired of reading you bashing Ringgold football. I get on here to read about positive things that are going on in our community and there you are with nothing but bad things to say about our program!! Matt Humbert and his staff have worked very hard to give the kids the best opportunity to perform out on the field. I wish you would just say who you were so everyone would know what a degenerate low life you really are!!

Bob Kennedy- Bentworth said...

The curse has been broken Mike! Thanks for the article.

mike_kovak said...

You're welcome Bob. Think I'll be in attendance next Tuesday at Chartiers-Houston. Looking forward to it.