Much like Erik Spoelstra’s mother, Rosa Guixens won’t actually watch the Heat play Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night.
“It’s too hard on my heart,” said the 70-year-old Kendall grandmother of eight, whose son and grandchild will be at AmericanAirlines Arena to cheer on the Heat as it tries to rally from a 3-2 series deficit against the San Antonio Spurs and win a second straight NBA championship.
“But I will be here at home just like I am for every game praying the rosary for the Heat,” Guixens continues. “If you can reach Wade, please email him to pray to the Holy Trinity. He is a good man, and I am sure his prayer will be answered. Please, please do so. Wade will understand. We love those guys. They are family.”
The power of prayer is one way Heat fans are planning to will their team to victory Tuesday night. Smoking a cigar at halftime, wearing a lucky T-shirt or sitting in a special chair are among the many other ways they hope to, too.
Michael Valenzuela, a 30-year old quality analyst for Coca-Cola in Lawrenceville, Ga., said he has eaten the same thing before each Heat win during the playoffs. He plans to do the same Tuesday.
“I don’t know why chicken wings, but every time I ate this meal from this Wing Stop last year during the playoffs we won,” said Valenzuela, who orders a 10-pience combo of lemon pepper and barbeque wings and eats it prior to tipoff along with silently saying 10 Hail Mary’s and a couple of Padre Nuestros.
“I put the theory to the test. I didn’t eat wings for Game 5 [Sunday] because it was Father’s Day and my family had a barbecue. I’m tired of these wings. but I can’t stop now. I believe in the wings. I have to otherwise I wouldn’t do it. It’s only weird if it doesn’t work."”
Fans aren’t alone in their “weirdness.” Pregame rituals like holy rain dances and secret handshakes between teammates are the way Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen get themselves prepared for games and winning basketball.
South Dade resident Dorien Rowe, 25, said he wears the same shoes Allen made famous in the 1998 movie He Got Game to bring the Heat luck. Rowe, a Heat fan since he was 6, said he ordered the shoes — the Air Jordan XIII’s — before Game 7 on the Eastern Conference finals.
“I’m a believer,” Rowe said. “Every time I’ve worn them, the Heat wins. Game 7 we needed that win and we won. I wore them for Game 2 and 4 and we won. I believe in the luck.”
Why didn’t he wear them Sunday? “I fell asleep before the game started,” Rowe said. “I thought putting them on halfway was bad luck.”
Mary Menzies, the director of Hialeah’s Christian Homes for Children who lives in Cutler Bay, said the entire family will dress up in all the Heat gear it can find in the house and bring out any memorabilia it can to “augment the power” of the Heat’s best performance.
“We are putting on everything we got,” Menzies said. “We have an Alonzo Mourning picture we’re pulling down. I’m wearing a Pat Riley autographed T-shirt that we have. It’s a spiritual thing. We wanted to lift our spirits and send out good vibes. The more stuff we put on the better chance they have.”
Weston native Aley Sheer, a Heat fan for 25 years, said he has never left his home without wearing Heat gear while they’re in the playoffs.
“If I have to wear a suit I will always wear a Heat tie — even while walking the dog going to Publix,” he said. “Lately I’ve taken to wearing my Birdman T-shirt with faux arm tattoo sleeves. People see me and start flapping their arms. I do this especially after a loss!
“I don’t know if this has to do with luck, it’s more about skill. But I have an immense faith, and that goes a long way.”
Andy Pita, a 26-year old actor and comedian from Hialeah, is planning to get the Heat fired up with another one of his passionate speeches on his website www.andypita.com. Although Pita has a lucky shrine at his home where he has Heat jerseys and his high school homecoming crown (it now represents the Heat’s King LeBron James), Pita “The Pitchman” hopes to inspire Heat fans and maybe even some players before the game.
“The last one I did this year was right after they beat the Bucks,” said Pita, who plans to wear his lucky red Dwyane Wade jersey and shake his voodoo bear doll to help rally the Heat on Tuesday if the team needs it.
“I haven’t done another because I’m superstitious. They’ve won, why mess with it. But now might be the time.”