Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Power of Will

The column below originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on Saturday, January 3, 2008.

It has been said having a grandchild changes everything. But when whoever coined that phrase said everything, I didn’t know they really meant “everything”.

As I might have mentioned once or twice before in this space, I was blessed with my first grandchild this past April. Grandson Will (did I mention his name is William?) is everything a grandparent could possibly want. He is adorable, personable, and smart as a whip. He has made the lives of everyone around him so much better.

Well – almost everyone.

You see, since Will was born on April 3, 2008 strange and mysterious things have been happening. Changes have occurred not only in the lives of Will’s happy relatives, but in the political world, the business world, and in particular the sporting world.

Since Will was born, politics have undergone tremendous change. The Republicans nominated a woman for Vice President. The Democrats carried Virginia in a presidential election. And of greatest note, the country elected an African-American President for the very first time.

Since Will was born, 300 point daily swings in the stock market have become the norm. The Fed has lowered interest rates all the way to zero. Mortgage rates are at their lowest in decades, and the Big Three car companies are begging for money in Washington like panhandlers on a street corner.

But Will’s greatest impact may have come in the sporting world, in ways both good and bad. Let’s review what has happened there since Will’s debut.

Shortly after Will’s birth, the Celtics went from a last-place team to winning the World Championship, their first in 22 years. The Boston Bruins, the laughing stock of Boston sports for the last decade, are now the hottest team in hockey.

On the flip side, since Will was born Tom Brady has played less than one quarter and suffered a season-ending injury. The Patriots won 11 games and somehow did not make the playoffs. The Red Sox went from World Champions to losing the American League Championship to – it is hard to say this – Tampa Bay.

On the opening Sunday of football season, my son brought Will to our house to participate in our good-luck rituals. He wore a Tom Brady jersey, and we watched Super Bowl video’s (not last year’s) to warm up for what promised to be a great Patriot season.

After Brady went down with his injury, the tiny Brady jersey was promptly removed from my angelic grandson and stuffed in a drawer where it can no longer harm anyone. Later, my son put a Tedy Bruschi jersey on him – and Bruschi got hurt. We are not blaming Will for either injury – but we didn’t put anyone else’s number on his back for the remainder of the season, just in case.

After the Pats were eliminated from playoff contention last Sunday, my family members began to discuss the post-Will world in which we now all live. It quickly became apparent to us that my grandson has been endowed with some type of strange power, and is struggling to control it.

We will now try and find ways to harness the wonderful power of Will. We must find ways to channel his karma for purposes that help us, and steer it away from the unwitting damage his unchecked aura has created.

Maybe we could get him Yankee pajamas and hope it leads A-Rod to marry Madonna and retire from baseball. No, forget it – there is no way we would ever allow Yankee pajamas on a beloved family member.

Of course, non-believers like Will’s mom and grandmother firmly reject any notion that young Will could somehow be connected to anything that brings bad luck. They need to understand we are not saying Will is unlucky – just that he has yet to grow into the superstitions and rituals we all know control the world. We just have to get him through this difficult stage.

I love my grandson with every ounce of my being. But I’m telling you, if the Celtics go on a long losing streak, Brady breaks his other leg, or the Detroit Lions beat the Pats in the Super Bowl next year – we are going to have to cover that kid in rabbit’s feet.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and has a grandson named William, who is the greatest. Grandpa can be reached at

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