US & Canada

Chicago Cubs end baseball's 'billy goat curse'

Anthony Rizzo celebrates Chicago Cubs winning the World Series Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Getting their goat: Chicago Cubs had gone 108 years without a World Series win

The Chicago Cubs have done it: They have finally won a World Series and, in doing so, have broken one of world's most infamous sporting curses.

For Cubs fans, it's been 108 years of hurt - that's how long it's been since their team last won a World Series.

Some might put that down to chronic bad luck, but others say there's a more supernatural - and animal-related - explanation.

In 1945, the last time the Cubs contested a World Series, bar owner Billy Sianis and his pet goat Murphy were allegedly removed from Wrigley Field because of the animal's bad smell.

"Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more," an outraged Sianis reportedly declared.

And so the curse of the billy goat was born: The Cubs lost the '45 Series and went more than a century without glory before beating the Cleveland Indians in a dramatic series finale on Wednesday night.

Sporting curses may seem far-fetched, but there are plenty of mythical tales of terrible juju striking teams across the world.

Superstitious nonsense? Or a reason for sports fans to keep on wearing that lucky underwear?

Have a read of some of the world's strangest sporting curses and decide for yourself.


Stadium mayhem

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption St Andrew's, home of Birmingham City, is said to have been cursed by the Romani people

For fans of English football club Birmingham City, much of their historic bad luck was down to an ill-advised stadium move.

In 1906, the club moved to St Andrew's, apparently evicting some Romani people in the process.

Angered at being moved on, they placed a 100-year curse on the club.

Cue decades in the doldrums and no major trophy wins for the club. The stadium even got bombed during World War Two in 1941.

The curse took hold so strongly some managers tried desperate measures to have it lifted.

Image caption Former Birmingham City manager Barry Fry said he tried urinating on the four corners of the pitch to lift the curse

In the 1980s, Ron Saunders reportedly had crucifixes installed on the floodlights and on the soles of the players' boots.

Barry Fry said he was advised to urinate on all four corners of the pitch to lift the curse - so he did. He got sacked a few months later.

In 2006, the year the curse officially ended, Birmingham got relegated and promoted straight back into the Premier League.

They won their only major trophy, the League Cup, in 2011.


The curse of Canadians on ice

Image copyright AP
Image caption No Canadian NHL team has won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens in 1993

Traditionally, Canadian teams have dominated the Stanley Cup, NHL's premier competition, winning 40 times between 1927 to 1993.

But no Canadian team has won since Marty McSorley, a player with a suitably Back to the Future name, changed the destiny of teams north of the border forever.

In the 1993 final, the Montreal Canadiens were taking on the Los Angeles Kings.

The Kings were a goal up and set to go two games ahead in the series when the Montreal coach objected to the hockey stick used by Kings player McSorley

It was too curved. McSorley was sent to the sin bin and Montreal ended up winning the game, the series and the Stanley Cup.

Since then, the Stanley Cup has become a wasteland for Canada's finest.

Some people have questioned why the curse would work against the team not cheating but, hey, it's a curse so absolutely doesn't have to make sense.

Still unconvinced? In 1995, the Quebec Nordiques upped sticks across the border and became the Colorado Avalanche. They won the Stanley Cup a year later.


Funeral blues

Image copyright Inpho
Image caption Since 1989, Mayo have been involved in eight All-Ireland finals and lost every single one

In Ireland, the sporting curse to end all sporting curses exists against Mayo's long-suffering Gaelic footballers.

The county last won an All-Ireland title in 1951. Since then, they've been in eight All-Ireland finals - and lost every single one.

The run of defeats started in 1989 and culminated this year when Mayo lost by a single point in a replay against Dublin.

So what happened? Legend has it, the triumphant '51 team were travelling home from Dublin when the celebratory squad passed a funeral without paying it sufficient respect.

An angered priest subsequently cursed the team, saying Mayo wouldn't win again until every member of the 1951 team had died.

Two of the team are still alive - Dr Padraig Carney and Paddy Prendergast, who has dismissed the curse as "nonsense".

After eight heartbreaking final defeats, Mayo fans can be forgiven for thinking otherwise.


Par-3 Punishment

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Players at the Masters are likely to avoid winning the opening Par-3 contest

Every golfer dreams of sliding on the green jacket after winning at The Masters at Augusta - but nobody wants to win the Par-3 contest.

That's because nobody who has ever won the Par 3 tournament has ever gone on to win the Masters in the same year.

Since 1960, the nine-hole contest has been held the day before the tournament proper and has jinxed anyone with the temerity to actually win.

Ireland's Padraig Harrington has won the Par 3 tournament a record three times but the major winner has never claimed a green jacket.

Last year, nine players recorded holes-in-one. Needless to say, none of those guys went on to win the 2016 Masters.


Kevin Durant and the Curse of Lil'B

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Kevin Durant during one of Oklahoma's unsuccessful bids for the NBA championship

Biggie vs Tupac. Jay Z vs Nas. Drake vs Meek Mill. If those names are unfamiliar, then prepare to get even more confused.

Feuds are common in hip hop but it's much rarer for a rapper to start a beef with a sports star.

But that's what happened in 2011 when West Coast's Lil B' (aka The BasedGod) "cursed" basketball star Kevin Durant on Twitter in what is probably the first - and only - well-documented case of someone getting hexed on social media.

Durant's crime? Tweeting in 2011 that he didn't like Lil B's music.

The rapper responded: "Kevin Durant will never win the title after he said 'Lil' B is a wack rapper'. The Basedgods curse on Durant."

And it kind of worked.

Durant's team, the highly touted Oklahoma City Thunder, did not win a championship in the last five seasons despite being in contention every year.

The curse ended earlier in 2016 when Durant announced he was joining the Golden State Warriors.

"Welcome home KD the curse is lifted," Lil B tweeted.

Amen to that.

Related Topics

More on this story