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.