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🏆Spooky sports stories

October 31, 2021
SOURCE: NBA/GIPHY
SOURCE: NBA/GIPHY

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

In honor of the spooky day, we’re sharing a few of our favorite chilling sports stories. From haunted stadiums and hotels to the spirits of former players, these are sure to send a shiver down your spine.

  • It’s a great way to get into the spirit of the day, whether you believe in the tales or not. Happy haunting!

Content warning: The following contains mentions of suicide.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Everyone in the league knows about her.

— Former NBAer and current Miami Heat assistant coach Caron Butler discussing the Oklahoma City hotel ghost, Effie.

🌩 Effie — the ghost of Oklahoma City

SOURCE: SKIRVINHILTON.COM

When traveling to play against the Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA teams typically stay in the city’s Skirvin Hilton Hotel. Some of the league’s biggest names, like Derrick Rose and Metta World Peace, have shared spooky interactions or strange experiences after staying in the hotel, and many have blamed their unsettling stay for poor performanceson the court.

  • The story involved a former hotel employee named Effie (who may or may not have actually existed). Effie and the hotel’s owner, W.B. Skirvin, had an affair in which Effie became pregnant.
  • In order to avoid judgment and criticism from the community, Skirvin supposedly confined Effie and their newborn baby in one of the hotel rooms on the 10th floor. After some time locked away, Effie is said to have jumped from the window, ending her and her child’s lives.

Today, it is rumored that Effie and the baby haunt the halls of the Skirvin hotel. Players and other visitors have cited hearing a crying baby, slamming doors and strange sounds throughout the night.

  • One game day, Kyrie Irving said he woke up with several bed bugs on his pillow paired with a few bites. Which apparently was enough to convince him to produce a movie about the hotel’s hauntedness. Well, he does have some extra time on his hands.
  • Bill Simmons of The Ringer wrote about his experience in the hotel, saying he thought he heard one of his kids crying before remembering that his kids are no longer babies and also were not there in the hotel with him...spooky.

⚾️ Eddie Plank — the ghost of Gettysburg

SOURCE: MARK RUCKER/TRANSCENDENTAL GRAPHICS, GETTY IMAGES

Eddie Plank was born in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and became the first left-handed pitcher to win 300 games in the MLB,playing for the Philadelphia Athletics in the early 1900s. He finished his career with 326 wins and a spot in baseball’s Hall of Fame before his death in 1926.

  • Seventy years later, the owner of Plank’s former Gettysburg residence, Peter Stitt, awoke to loud noises coming from within his home one evening. Stitt said he could hear loud thuds, grunting, a woosh sound and footsteps.
  • The noises continued and began to sound familiar to Stitt. He said the sounds must have been a pitcher tossing balls and concluded that the ghost of the baseball legend returned to his home to continue his spring training.
  • When the noises halted, just in time for MLB Opening Day in 1996, Stitt, along with many other believers in Plank’s return, surmised that the Hall of Famer must have been satisfied with his final practice session before resting for good.

In 2005, ESPN’s Don Barone went to investigate the ghost story for himself, traveling to Gettysburg with a psychic. While Plank didn’t come out and pitch during their visit, the psychic did claim to have a chat with him, during which Plank disclosed that the 1914 World Series was fixed. Spilling piping hot tea from the grave.

  • Of course, many don’t believe this elaborate story, and the original incident reported by Stitt is now thought of as a hoax, but it’s hard to rule out the possibility entirely — especially coming from a mysterious city like Gettysburg.

🏒 Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame

SOURCE: ROBERTO MACHADO NOA/LIGHTROCKET VIA GETTY IMAGES

As if hockey doesn’t already have enough scary stories, one takes place in Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame. The building originally housed the Bank of Montreal, where, in 1953, Dorothea, a 19-year-old woman who worked at the bank, attempted to take her own life in the women’s restroom and later died in the hospital the next day.

  • Soon after her death, Dorothea’s former colleagues started experiencing strange things at the bank like flickering lights, footsteps following them, shrieking noises and an overall feeling that someone was watching them — especially while in the women’s restroom.
  • Eventually, the bank even installed a second bathroom due to many reports of strange occurrences and overwhelmingly bad vibes. When the bank relocated, however, the reports from the original restroom continued.

Today, visitors to the Hall of Fame have reported seeing a woman with long, dark hair near the women’s restroom on the second floor, and many reported the feeling of being watched or hearing footsteps and screams, similar to the bank employees long ago. Chills.

⚾️ Rochester’s Frontier Field

SOURCE: TIM CLAYTON/CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGES

With baseball being one of the oldest sports in North America, it makes sense that a handful of strange or unusual events have occurred. But only one park is “officially” haunted — Rochester, NY’s Frontier Field, home of the Rochester Red Wings (the Washington Nationals’ Triple-A team).

  • In 1996, it was built on a site that once held a warehouse, a schoolhouse and a paper company. In the latter, a janitor was rumored to have haunted the building, then stuck around when it was demolished and the field was constructed.
  • To make things spookier, unidentified bones were found while the ground was broken to begin construction for the field. To this day, no one’s sure if the bones were human or not. Cringe.

Rochester Paranormal declared the field haunted in 2004. Their proof? Photos depicting mysterious figures or “floating entities” and smoky-looking shapes. But what’s more convincing are the stories from people who work there.

  • From the clubhouse manager to the groundskeeper, many of the team’s staff have heard strange noises and seen dark shadows looming around the stadium, not to mention thousands of crows that seem to love the location. The Birds, anyone?

🏈 The Gipper and the Fighting Irish

SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

One story from the University of Notre Dame football team that stands out is “The Gipper.” In 1920, George Gipp had been out late celebrating the team’s win against rival Northwestern. That night, he slept outside after being locked out of his dorm room and he caught pneumonia, which tragically led to his death at just 25 years old.

  • After his passing, students who lived in his dormitory reported hearing — stop us if you’ve heard this one before — strange noises and footsteps in the halls. There were also reports of loud horns going off in the middle of the night too. Um, rude.
  • Moments before he died, Gipp told legendary coach Knute Rockne to “win just one for the Gipper,” a phrase that can still be heard among Notre Dame players and fans when they need a rally — his full speech is even showcased on a plaque in the locker room.
  • Gipp’s legacy also made it to the big screen: prior to his days as president, Ronald Reagan played him in a movie about Coach Rockne. And in Rudy, the title character reads the plaque during his epic speech. We’re not crying, you’re crying.

Today, students still report being spooked by what they assume is Gipp’s ghost in the halls, but most aren’t afraid for long, as “The Gipper” is known as a friendly spirit on campus. Very Nearly-Headless Nick of him.

🍬 Variety Pack

SOURCE: AP PHOTO/MORRY GASH

While we couldn’t list all of the chilling stories from around the sports world, today’s as good as any to learn about a few more.

Sports fans are known to be superstitious and believe in irrational things (like the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup this year), but whether you believe in ghosts or not, it’s certainly fun to learn about the folklore of sports communities from all over. Happy Halloween!

🏈College football quick hits: Undefeated no more

October 29, 2021
SOURCE: CHRISTIAN PETERSEN/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: CHRISTIAN PETERSEN/GETTY IMAGES

Thursday Night Football: Stop us if you heard this one before, but quarterback (QB) Aaron Rodgers led his Green Bay Packers to a huge win in last night’s TNF matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, ending Arizona’s undefeated season.

  • Adding insult to...injury, defensive end JJ Watt missed last night’s game after suffering a potentially season-ending shoulder injury last week.

🎓College: With the first round of College Football Playoff rankings set to be released early next week, Week 9’s already storied rivalry matchups will be extra spicy.

  • First, No. 6 Michigan faces No. 8 Michigan State tomorrow at 12 p.m. ET. The Paul Bunyan Trophy is on the line, and so is a perfect season for these undefeated squads.
  • Then at 3:30 p.m. ET, No. 1 Georgia faces SEC foe Florida. 7-0 Georgia is the team to beat this year, and while Florida’s home crowd will certainly try to keep things interesting, we think the Dawgs will cruise to victory.

🏒NHL: Standing with survivors

October 29, 2021
Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Content warning: The following contains discussion of sexual violence. As always, support survivors and take care.

The latest: In an emotional interview with TSN on Wednesday, Beach (a 2008 first-round draft pick) courageously came forward as the John Doe who filed a lawsuit after being sexually assaulted by former Chicago video coach Brad Aldrich.

  • During the interview, Beach said, “I want everybody to know, in the sports world and the world, that you’re not alone.” So powerful.

The response: In the wake of Wednesday’s interview, Chicago released a statement apologizing to Beach, the NHL Players’ Association (PA) did the same and the NHL sent a memo to all 32 clubs about “fostering a safe and inclusive culture.”

  • This is all coming a little (read: 11 years) too late...and Chicago’s response, in particular, feels disingenuous. In his first statement since the interview, Beach said, “my battle is really just beginning as the Blackhawks continue to attempt to destroy my case in court.”
  • Elsewhere, Florida Panthers and former Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville (who failed to act on the 2010 allegations) resigned last night, a day after coaching his team despite outrage from fans.

What’s next: As many journalists have pointed out, Chicago chose (and is still choosing) to protect a video coach instead of their own player, a survivor. Those in power continually protect their own and perpetuate this broken system. It’s way past time for accountability.

🏒NHL: Standing with survivors

October 29, 2021
Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Content warning: The following contains discussion of sexual violence. As always, support survivors and take care.

The latest: In an emotional interview with TSN on Wednesday, Beach (a 2008 first-round draft pick) courageously came forward as the John Doe who filed a lawsuit after being sexually assaulted by former Chicago video coach Brad Aldrich.

  • During the interview, Beach said, “I want everybody to know, in the sports world and the world, that you’re not alone.” So powerful.

The response: In the wake of Wednesday’s interview, Chicago released a statement apologizing to Beach, the NHL Players’ Association (PA) did the same and the NHL sent a memo to all 32 clubs about “fostering a safe and inclusive culture.”

  • This is all coming a little (read: 11 years) too late...and Chicago’s response, in particular, feels disingenuous. In his first statement since the interview, Beach said, “my battle is really just beginning as the Blackhawks continue to attempt to destroy my case in court.”
  • Elsewhere, Florida Panthers and former Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville (who failed to act on the 2010 allegations) resigned last night, a day after coaching his team despite outrage from fans.

What’s next: As many journalists have pointed out, Chicago chose (and is still choosing) to protect a video coach instead of their own player, a survivor. Those in power continually protect their own and perpetuate this broken system. It’s way past time for accountability.

🏒Late departure from Chicago NHL coach raises concerns

October 27, 2021
Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The background: Earlier this year, a former Chicago player filed a lawsuit claiming that former video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted him during the team’s 2010 Stanley Cup title run.

  • According to reports, a coach at the time was made aware of the allegations against Aldrich and brought it to the attention of team leadership, including Bowman. You’d think that would lead to an investigation, a response...anything.
  • Instead, Aldrich was awarded a Stanley Cup ring and moved on to new jobs, including coaching at a high school in Michigan, where he was later convicted of criminal sexual conduct involving a 17-year-old. Just awful.

The latest: Chicago hired an outside firm to conduct an independent review of the allegations, and their findings were released yesterday. In response, Chicago released a lackluster statement, Bowman resigned (before he could be fired) and the NHL fined the team $2 million, half of which will go to local organizations that support survivors.

The bigger picture: Bowman’s departure comes 11 years too late, and this story is yet another example of the culture of silence and misogyny that persists in sports.

  • While Bowman’s departure is the expected reaction to this latest news, the NHL and (the sports world in general) must proactively work to eradicate this toxicity. There’s no excuse.