I love to gamble on football. The football season starts in a few days and before I bet, I always think back to February 6, 2011, and the miracle.
Yes, that's was it was: an out-and-out genuine miracle. And I swear it actually happened. I couldn't, and wouldn't, make this up.
Let me start my story of the miracle that touched me by saying I have no formal religion. I like them all ... respect them all … I celebrate many of their holidays. However, I believe you can lead a moral, upstanding life without being part of any organized religion.
That said, if there is anything that I worship, it's music of all kinds. Especially music on my iPod. I have more than 12,000 songs on my iPod, and have them all playing on random, so at any given time, the odds are 12,000-to-1 that a song will come up.
I've put entire Time Life CDs from the Best of the '30s, '40s, '50s, etc., etc., on my iPod, so it's safe to say I have no idea what songs are on it.
Now we come to the morning of the 2011 Super Bowl.
It was Super Bowl Sunday, the best day of any year, and I woke up in the morning smug about the game. I was sure I had nailed it. No way Pittsburgh could lose. I had a sizable bet with my local friendly bookie. Pittsburgh + three points was a lock. Big Ben Roethlisberger was going to bring home the championship for the Steelers and I was completely confident in my bet.
There I was, standing in my bathroom, mouth full of toothpaste, brushing away, when I put down the toothbrush and decided to put on some music. I reached out to the speaker pad in my bathroom wall and pushed "Play" and the music came on. That's when the miracle occurred.
A miracle that only a person like me – who loves to bet every Sunday on pro football – can appreciate. The first song that came on goes back 65 years to 1952 and I swear I haven't heard it since then. This song by a mediocre singer (even by 1950s standards) named Guy Mitchell was playing loud and clear in my bathroom.
The first line is: "There's a pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania."
"(There's a pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
And I walk up and down 'neath the clock
(By the pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
But I ain't got a thing left to hock."
I dropped the toothbrush and ran through the house wearing just my bright orange boxers screaming, "Judy! Judy! Judy! It's a miracle! It's a miracle! God just talked to me. I didn't even know God liked football!"
My wife, the beautiful Judy Licht, was in the kitchen having a cup of coffee. She looked up at me and tried to understand what I was saying with white toothpaste foam drooling out of the corners of my mouth.
"Pittsburgh is going to lose! Pittsburgh is going to lose!" I screamed.
"God just talked to me on my iPod. Pittsburgh is going to lose. Don't you understand, the lyrics are about the people in Pittsburgh going to hock shops. Why hock shops? Because they lost all their money betting on Pittsburgh.
"It's a message to me from God. I have to change my bet."
Judy didn't say anything, she just looked into her coffee cup and slowly shook her head. Perhaps she was communicating with God about me. Hopefully she wasn't asking God to take me. Naturally I made a much bigger bet on Green Bay to offset the bet I had made earlier in the week on Pittsburgh.
On Sunday night at a Super Bowl party at my house I told all my friends about the miracle and how God had talked to me. And how sure I was that Pittsburgh was going to lose. My friends, like Judy, said nothing. They just shook their heads.
At the end of the game, with just 40 seconds left to go, the announcer said, "With the score 31 to 25, Aaron Rodgers takes a knee and the Packers are Super Bowl champions." I watched and contemplated taking two knees to thank God for my miracle.
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