Me and Lucky Number Seven


The image will remain in my mind forever.

Boston Bruins' defenseman Ray Bourque, who wore number seven for nine years, skates up to Phil Esposito holding a number seven jersey with Espo's name on it. Then he doffs his own number seven jersey and reveals a new number--77.

Why, you may ask, is the image so striking to me?

Because I thought of the idea first.

Those who were in the stands the night of the Harvard-Team USA hockey game may know what I mean.



You might remember that last year, I wore the same costume to alternating hockey games--Ray-Ban sunglasses, a red-and-black bandanna and a Harvard T-shirt with a number 13 on it.

I picked number 13 because, well, no Harvard player had worn that number for years. I would slip into the spot vacated by the team and cheer them on to victory.

And if people in my section moaned, "That's bad luck," I'd bring up Dan Marino and Davey Concepcion. I never witnessed a Harvard loss while wearing number 13.

But last April, I received a "Seventh Player Award" from the hockey team. That, ostensibly, assigned me the number seven.

So I went to the Team USA game wearing my traditional garb, complete with the number 13 T-shirt with which I had a perfect record. And, like Ray Bourque, I had another T-shirt underneath.

As the Harvard Band made its traditional countdown towards "halftime," I went into my quick-change mode.

Off went the Ray-Bans, on with the funky tinted safety goggles. The bandanna was unfurled into a "hockey hankie." And then I took off the crimson T-shirt with 13 on it to reveal a white T-shirt with a seven emblazoned on it.

I had made my change. But there were no accolades from Hall of Fame hockey players. No number being raised to the rafters. Heck, I wasn't even on the ice at the time. There just weren't any cheers.

After all, if your favorite team was going to lose by 12 goals, wouldn't you be a bit depressed?

The transformation, for me, is now total. As I'm writing this, there is a purple Harvard sweatshirt with a green seven draped on my back, one of many Harvard items with a seven that I have in my wardrobe.

Moreover, I've begun thinking in sevens. Remember when Tim Smith '86 (who wore number three) did lots of things in threes on the days before games? Well, it's happening to me. I write seven-page papers, take seven steps when I cross the street, and I buy Macintosh disks in sevens.

But what might happen in the future? I can see it now...

I step off the train in New Jersey where my mother is waiting on the platform. She says, "Honey, you're leaning a little to the right--and why are you holding your arm up like that?"

"I'm a seven, Mom..."