With a lot on the line, athletes find strength in pre-game rituals
Many athletes have some sort of routine to prepare for their games.
Whether it’s as simple as warming up with the team, or something like eating a medium pizza before a game, George Brown College (GBC) varsity athletes have many different ways to prepare before a big game.
While some athletes keep it casual like eating healthy foods, stretching and doing the team warm-ups, some athletes go beyond that.
“The one thing I do before every game is just pray on the phone with my mom,” said women’s Huskies basketball player Zae Sellers.
One player on the men’s basketball team, Teshayn Gale eats an entire medium sized pizza before every game.
These little things that athletes do may seem like inconsequential, but could it be just as important as getting your body warmed up before the game?
With the high pressure of playing varsity sports, when all that’s between an athlete and being eliminated from the competition is one game, your mind can make all the difference.
“If I’m not focused or too anxious, that’s the biggest one for me, too anxious and too ready to go, even in the warm-up I’m just all over the place, and I’m impatient and waiting for the O-Canada to finish and the lineups to start,” said men’s basketball player Kingslee D’Silva. “I want the game to start so quickly. That can mess you up during the game,”
Not only do players need to get into the mindset as individuals, but some find strength in the things they do together as a team prior to a game.
“I feel like when we go out there together it looks more collective as a unit so coming back into the locker room before we go out there as a team is very important,” said Sellers. “Coming together and saying Huskies, running in and running out, all that stuff is important”
The women’s volleyball team goes even further in their team rituals by choosing to spend time before every game and practice together. The team sits together in what they call “the round table” and everyone has to answer a question that helps the team get to know one another better.
“What your’s favourite ice cream flavour? is one example of the type of questions we ask each other and talk about,” said team captain Jessica Barrios.
But that’s not all the volleyball team does.
The entire team makes sure to step onto the court with the right foot at the beginning of every set.
“My grandma claims it’s a Spanish superstition that it brings you good luck, ” said Barrios. “So we started doing it at the end of our second season and we found that it just kind of brought us together a little bit better.”
If it’s a superstitious belief or a method to prepare for the games, it’s clear that pregame rituals are ingrained in the culture of sports.
Pregame rituals help athletes move beyond their everyday lives and give the game everything they have.