Fans aren’t the only ones who have traditions or rituals before a game. Many Keene State College Owls have their own rituals that they do before a meet or game. Some sports even have traditions as an entire team. Whether it’s cross country and track, baseball, lacrosse or even swimming, the rituals vary for each team.
Junior women’s lacrosse player Jenna Bellano said that in her first year they had one specific warm-up they would repeat every single game day.
“Freshman year we did the same pre-game warm up and never changed anything and it worked well, we stretched, did shuttles, 3v2s and shooting drills. Plus we’d shoot on the goalie,” Bellano said.
Although it worked out well for Bellano’s first year, something was different when the season started back up again her sophomore year.
“We had a really tough start to the season,” Bellano said. “We were 0-9 at one point so our coach decided our warm up wasn’t working for us, and she was right.”
The veterans of the team knew it wasn’t the same team as the previous year.
“We had so many new freshman and a whole new team, so we switched things up,” Bellano said.
She continued, “We still do shuttles and shooting on the goalie but everything in between is a little different, we separate into offense and defense to focus a little more.”
As the sports vary, so do the traditions.
Junior men’s cross country and track athlete Eric Dietz said his routine is more of an individual one than a team one.
“The day before I stretch and roll out, I also try not to over exert myself, or over run,” Dietz said.
As for the day of the game, the atmosphere changes and Dietz is in a different zone.
“The day of I focus on my specific goals that I have or that my coach has for me,” Dietz said.
He continued to talk about how music motivates him during the meet. Dietz listens to music when he’s getting ready for the races but while he’s running he is not allowed to. At a cross country meet music is not allowed because it can enhance a runner’s endurance during the race.
In a way, swimming is similar to cross country and track and field. Swimming is more of an individual sport compared to many others. Like cross country, each athlete has to focus on themselves first and then the team as a whole.
Senior captain for the men’s swimming and diving team Zachariah Carroll eats almost the exact same thing before every single meet.
“I have four hard boiled eggs, just the whites, four packets of Quaker Oatmeal, half apples and cinnamon half plain, then I have a bowl of yogurt,” Carroll said.
He continued, “Right before we leave the DC I make a triple decker peanut butter and jelly sandwich to bring with me on the bus.”
Like many others, Carroll said he listens to music on the way to the meets. “On the bus I mostly listen to rap or death metal,” Carroll said.
As for the team, Carroll said they do a chant before the very beginning of the meet and before the first race. The men get into a giant huddle. “We go ‘Team cock hoorah on three’,” Carroll said.
The Owl’s baseball team is full of tradition and ritual. Senior Kevin Guild explains just a little bit of what they do.
“There are some guys that just do the isolated ‘don’t talk to me’ while others just mess around and joke with the guys before hand,” Guild said.
Guild said he likes to make sure he has at least 15 minutes to take a foam roller to the outfield. “I need to just settle in, calm down and simplify my thoughts,” Guild said.
According to Guild, the players on the baseball team do their own thing. Then they’ll come together either as an entire team or a group, for example the pitchers.
“Last year as a bullpen, we would all buy in to bring red bulls for everyone, and we would all drink them before a game after a few words,” Guild said.
He continued, “There’s always a ‘staff meeting’ we like to call it, where the pitchers get together right before the first pitch and discuss the game plan for the day.”
Whether it’s lacrosse, baseball or anything in between, each athlete has something that they do before every game; something they do so often it becomes a tradition.
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