In 2011, Madden NFL 11 cover athlete Drew Brees threw 22 interceptions, his quarterback rating dropped 20 points and his New Orleans Saints lost in the first round of the playoffs to a team with a losing record.
As any sports fanatic is well aware of, there are many superstitions, dogmas and “curses” associated with professional teams, athletes and their performances. Some of the better-known “curses” involve athletes on the covers of video games, such as Madden and MLB: The Show. It has been said that once a star athlete makes the cover, their career spirals downward.
The East Coast Conference, which Queens College is a member of, may have its own “curse.”
The ECC Player and Rookie of the Week awards are weekly recognitions given to the standout male and female athletes of each sport in the conference for that week. But some statistics have shown that once a player is honored with one of the conference’s awards, that player doesn’t perform as well for the rest of their season.
During the week of Sept. 6, 2012, three QC athletes; Sarah Boucher, Erika Goldsmith and Andrea Samson, received ECC recognition for their outstanding performances.
Women’s soccer midfielder Boucher won the award for her excellent offensive performance of scoring two goals in two games with one assist.
As of now, she’s a happy recipient.
“I was surprised I got the award because I thought my teammate would,” Boucher said. “I’m happy I got it, though.”
Women’s tennis dominated the conference that week with captain Goldsmith receiving Player of the Week and her teammate, freshman Samson, receiving Rookie of the Week.
Goldsmith, too, was naturally pleased with the recognition.
“At first I was surprised and then just flattered,” Goldsmith said. “I don’t ever expect things like that so it was a nice surprise.”
Although the award is an honor, some believe that it can be a turn for the worse. Some players say that this award puts so much pressure on the athletes who receive it, the mental “baggage” associated with the recognition affects their game day preparation and performance.
“Once teams know who the Player of the Week is, they make adjustments and play harder,” Boucher said. “But I like that.”
Samson, born and raised in Paraguay and moved to the U.S. when she was 14, had no idea that this “curse” existed, but feels the award will not affect her performance on the court.
“I’m just going to do my best always and hopefully receive more awards,” Samson said.
Victims of this “curse” include a number of QC athletes.
In sophomore Matthew Cascello’s next start after he was named ECC Pitcher of the Week on April 23 last season, he surrendered nine hits and seven earned runs in less than three innings.
Freshman basketball player Abe Akanmu was the first recipient of the ECC Rookie of the Week award last season. He then injured his leg and missed several weeks of the season. Akanmu, however, rebounded from the injury and finished the season with eight points per game.
I was once even a victim. On March 19, 2011, I was named women’s softball ECC Co-Player of the Week for my offensive performance of a .478 batting average with two home runs, a .826 slugging percentage and seven RBIs in that week. I ended my 2011 season with a .237 batting average, three home runs, a .376 slugging percentage and 14 RBIs. It is clear that this was a drastic change in my performance.
I don’t believe the award got to my head or put a superior amount of pressure on my performance at all. To be honest, I never really thought about it. Why I performed under par throughout the rest of the season is debatable.
I don’t believe in the “curse” of the ECC Player/Rookie of the Week award. Falling victim to it myself, I believe there are many circumstances that can affect an athlete’s performance on the field, court, pool, etc.
But in regards to the three QC athletes who recently received the recognition, may the odds be in your favor.