Ever since the cheerleaders gave our high school basketball team "lucky" shoelaces and then we lost to an inferior team, I've scoffed at sports superstitions.
But now I have to make sense of my Pacers socks.
It started innocently enough.
I was sitting in my living room, grimacing as the Pacers fell behind in Game 4 of their first-round NBA playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Pacers were already down 2 games to 1 in the series, and their lackluster performance had been downright frustrating for Indiana fans.
Then, in the fourth quarter of Game 4, the Pacers' fortunes changed suddenly. They stole the ball repeatedly, swatted Hawks attempts and swished long-range jump shots.
After the Pacers won, I did a celebratory fist pump, then reached down to retrieve the empty popcorn bowl from the floor.
That's when I noticed the Indiana Pacers logos on my socks. I shrugged and thought nothing more of it.
Four days later, after I got home from work, I changed into sweats and a T-shirt to watch Game 6 of the Pacers-Hawks series. As I was closing a dresser drawer, I noticed that same pair of Pacers socks peaking out from beneath a pile of T-shirts.
Grinning cynically, I put on the socks. Mostly, I wanted to prove to myself that they would have no bearing on the outcome of the game.
The Pacers had looked terrible in losing Game 5 without my socks. "Lucky" socks or not, they seemed destined to lose Game 6 at Atlanta. That would be the depressing end to what had been a promising season.
But the Pacers didn't lose. And I began to believe there might be something special about my socks.
I wore them again for Game 7. The Pacers won again.
Here's where it gets really weird.