How rituals affect athletes’ mentality; Superstition plays role in sports

Ben Iampieri, Copy Editor

     Some of the fall sports teams have pre-game rituals they perform out of superstition. “Right before our games we do a run around the field and touch the hawk statue,” sophomore soccer player Haley Borns, says.

     “I have to make sure that I have on two different colored shin guard sleeves and that I have to tape the bottom of my socks,” varsity soccer player Austin Smith, junior, says.

     Senior Vance Haire has been playing volleyball since his freshman year. “I always put my left shoe on before my right, and once both of my shoes are on my feet, I tie my left shoe before my right,” he says.

     “Everyone has their own ritual. Mine is just slapping and spinning the ball,” Sierra Wendland, junior volleyball player says.

     Football player and junior Matthew Chaney says that the team “pray[s] before every game.”

     “Before games, I always put my socks and shoes on right foot first, and put my hair in a ponytail with a braid, then put it in a bun,” field hockey player Kendall Fortune, junior, says. “The night before a game I always take a good hot shower, relax, and go to bed early.”

     Some athletes are not as superstitious. James Ortt, cross country captain, says he is more nervous about outcomes. “I like to try and relax my mind, not think about school and stuff that distracts me easily,” he says.

     While Smith may have a ritual, he says he is “not superstitious about the sport. [He] listen[s] to music up until game time and just focus[es] on the game.”

     As for junior captain of cross country Sierra Weaver, she likes “to get all of [her] nerves out before running. [She] shake[s] [her] feet and hands around.”

     When running in a race, Ortt says it isn’t “too difficult especially if you have been conditioning for it. [He] felt fine running… a little nervous at first, but as [he] got into the race [he] was able to adjust and feel comfortable.”

     “I have felt pretty good in my games so far! I think my team is doing pretty well for just starting the season and have lots planned in the future,” Fortune says. “I think once we polish up our stick work, we will be amazing.”

     Whether these athletes are preparing or not, they all enjoy their sport. “I do enjoy soccer a lot,” Borns says. “My favorite part would most likely be building the relationships with girls on the team.”

     “Soccer is probably one of my favorite things to do or play in life and is my passion,” Smith says. “My favorite part of the sport is honestly the hard work you have to put into it, and then seeing all of the hours you’ve spent pay off when it comes to games.”

     Volleyball has become Haire’s favorite sport. “I feel like it’s less stressful than other sports I’ve played,” he says. “My favorite part about the sport is serving. I feel like it’s what I’m best at so I enjoy it most.

     “My favorite part about playing for school is the home games,” Wendland says.

     Fortune says that she “love[s] [her] team and enjoy[s] every day of it!”