First of all, I'm not a superstitious person in general. The number 13 doesn't hold any sway over me, I think black cats are awesome, and I don't have a pair of lucky socks that I can't play without. Occasionally I might toss some salt over my shoulder or knock on wood, but I'm not going to flip out if I don't do either of those things. Also, I'm definitely not forwarding any damned chain letters I get on Facebook; I'm pretty sure I won't get cancer and lose all of my money if I don't share someone's status for an hour.
All that being said, I'm totally and utterly convinced that the penalty box exerts secret forces and powers beyond my comprehension. Announcers always say that the time clock is the eleventh player on the track, but for my money, it's that damned penalty box. It's the sneakiest and most resilient opponent you'll ever meet.
Myth #1 (that's totally not a myth)
Once you get sent to the penalty box, it develops a taste for your body and draws you back as soon as possible. How many times have you gone to the box, come out to play and have been sent right back? I know, I know, my rational mind says "You went right back because you have something to prove, and you did it with too much force" but I still wonder if the penalty box is a black hole and nothing can escape its pull once you get sent there. "Hey there skater, I totally kept your spot warm."
Myth #2 (hella true)
The box always hungers for more and more people. Got two blockers in the box? Blink your eyes and there will be a third in the queue, especially when you happen to be the next jammer in the rotation. I guess the penalty box gets lonely and calls to the blockers on the track. "Come to me, my lovelies!"
Myth #3 (totally true)
The announcers have the power to put you in the box or keep you out of it, depending on what they say. I swear, as soon as an announcer says "She's going to have to play this jam clean in order to tie the score..." boom. Someone is in the box. "So and So is usually a clean jammer." Box trip, almost guaranteed. I know that most of us can't hear the announcers and everything they say, but I think the penalty box totally can. "Look, there is a full pack on the track!" Boom. Penalty box again. Maybe it likes the attention, or maybe it hungers for derby butts. Fess up announcers, do you have some weird symbiotic relationship with the penalty box? You can tell us, we won't hate you if it's true. (we might.)
Myth #4 (true true true)
If you're wearing the jammer or pivot panty for the next jam, it's almost guaranteed the jammer or pivot from the current jam will go to the box. I know this is true because it happens to me all of the time. I put the pivot panty on, and BLAM, the current pivot is in the box. Katie Clysmic on my team refuses to put the jammer panty on until she goes to line up. I know this doesn't really happen, but it's kind of uncanny; I watched her for one game, and she was right. Every time she put the jammer panty on, the previous jammer went to the box. Does the penalty box sense panties? How disturbing was that line to read?
Myth #5 (somewhat true)
Time moves slower in the box. Maybe this myth should be "time moves differently in the box." When you're sitting in the box, it seems like one minute is an eternity; it crawls by, and every time you check with the penalty box timer, you swear her clock is stuck on 42 seconds. If you're out on the track, and your jammer is in the box, it seems even longer than eternity. If it's the opposing jammer, that minute goes by in no time. You just can't calculate box time by normal time.
Yes, I'm exaggerating, but all of those things seem true when you have to deal with penalties. The real answer to not having all of these crazy issues with the penalty box is to clean up your game. I'm working on this myself, at every practice, but it's hard. I guess until then, I'll keep my secret and crazy beliefs going about the damned penalty box!