If there’s one thing keeping American sports journalists employed, it’s the notion of curses. A curse, The Curse, Billygoats, magazines, video games—whatever. It sometimes seems that anything that has nothing to do with on-field performance sells copy.
Apparently—possibly due to social support systems that don’t require pandering to the readers’ basest instincts to boil the pot—European sportswriters do not suffer this affliction. My evidence: this limited edition Alberto Contador cover of Procycling Manager has attracted no attention.
As everyone in America with nothing better to do knows, the player on the cover of the Madden NFL video game is horribly cursed each year. Procycling Manager generally just has crudely-painted renderings of fanciful TdF scenes, possibly to avoid this problem.
As far as I can tell, the only previous instance of a PCM featuring a rider occurred in 2007, when a poorly-photoshoped Carlos Sastre graced the cover. He seems to have been a special edition as well—alternate versions of the ’07 game certainly exist—but, uh, it actually ended up working out OK for him the next time around. But if anything, this confirms the curse.
You see, after the ’06 Tour, when people were likely deciding whom to place on the Procycling Manager ’07 cover, no one really had any idea what the eff was going on. So they played it safe picked the guy who probably wasn’t on drugs, and probably would start in next years’ race. This effected a karmic neutralization of the curse.
But Contador—oh man. It’s a coin toss. He said he alone won the Tour, but indeed got good team support—at least from the start line to whenever the road went uphill. Does the otra pregunta stonewalling balance with being left behind at the hotel? Seems risky.
So if disaster befalls pistolero between now and the 2010 Tour Podium, I’m attributing it to the dreaded Procycling Manager Curse. Just remember—you read it here first.