Thu. Nov 21st, 2019

The Curse of the #7 Jersey

We’re gonna take it back to start this one folks; all the way back to Christmas Day, 2011.

Things were much simpler back then — I was only a junior in high school, Les Miles was still considered as one of college football’s best coaches, and LSU had just wrapped up one of the most dominant regular seasons in college football history.

I spent all of the 2011 season idolizing Tyrann Mathieu. I was lucky enough to be in the Georgia Dome to watch the sensational performance he put on that day, and leaving the stadium, I knew all I wanted for Christmas that year was a #7 LSU jersey.

That Christmas morning, I acted like Ralphie from “A Christmas Story” when I opened that jersey. I couldn’t wait to wear it for the next big LSU game. Of course, my young dumb brain couldn’t wait until the next season, oh no. I thought the perfect time to break it out would be for the National Championship rematch game between LSU and Alabama.

We all know how it went down on Jan. 9, 2012. I’ll forever have that date seared in my brain for the embarrassment LSU faced in the Superdome at the hands of Alabama. I wouldn’t know it then, but that night, the curse of the #7 jersey was born.

Fast forwarding through the next few years — mostly because it’s too painful to actually go through every loss — LSU lost to Alabama in just about every way possible. Last second touchdowns, nationally-televised embarrassments, and offensive ineptitude mixed into all of them.

LSU fans have become mentally defeated when it comes to Alabama, but last year felt different. My dad, brother and I decided to road-trip it down to Baton Rouge to at least tailgate for the game and watch it from my family’s RV outside of the stadium. I knew the game was going to be a white-out, — for Devin White being forced to sit out the first half after a ridiculous targeting call in the game prior — but I still packed that purple #7 jersey like a moron.

Like I said, things felt different last year. Maybe it was being down in the thick of it with the buzz around the stadium or maybe it was LSU’s fools gold resume coming into the game; but I had genuinely convinced myself that LSU was going to win the game.

Then my uncle helped me cross off a bucket-list moment when he handed me his ticket right before the game and I had that Ralphie feeling all over again. Again, like a moron, before walking into the game, I grabbed that purple #7 jersey out of the back of the RV to bring it into the game.

Then the game happened. It was complete offensive ineptitude on LSU’s side, and utter domination on the Alabama side. It wasn’t anything different from the prior seven years dating back to that infamous championship game on Jan. 9, 2012.

My cousin and I spent the fourth quarter of our empty section passing a water bottle of Jim Beam back and forth until we were ready to stumble back out to the tailgate to continue numbing the pain of the loss.

Walking out, it dawned on me — maybe the jersey was cursed. After all, the first time I wore it was in the midst of one of the programs most embarrassing performances. Sure, Alabama has been the most dominant program since that 2011-12 national championship game, but it’s not like LSU hasn’t had the opportunity to win these games. I’m not superstitious, but I’m a little stitious.

When we got back to the tailgate, we discussed the proper way to get rid of the jersey. I no longer wanted to be part of the reason LSU couldn’t win these games. I wanted to just throw the jersey into the fire we had going and rid any shred of doubt that the jersey would carry on this curse. However, none of the grown-ups would let me do it, so I just packed it back in the RV.

Upon arriving back to the house the next day — no one is going to sit in that traffic after a loss like that, better to just sleep it off — I didn’t have the jersey. I remembered offering it to one of my cousin’s friends at the tailgate and when I asked him about it, he didn’t have it either.

Did it vanish? Was it destroyed later that night? My browned-out brain couldn’t tell you what happened. All I know is we haven’t seen it since that very night. They say Tiger Stadium is haunted, but I don’t think it goes that far.

As the Alabama game approaches this Saturday, I guess we will find out where the curse’s status truly stands. The way this season has gone, it is looking pretty good for the Tigers, but we won’t truly know until the final whistle this Saturday. Geaux Tigers.

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