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Pre-game Rituals Pump Up Athletes

Julia Smith, Staff Writer

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Whether it’s throwing chalk dust in the air like Lebron or pointing to the sky like Usian Bolt, students at WHB have their own pre-game rituals that pump them up before a game.

We all know Mr. Williams as a social studies teacher at WHBHS but some may not know that he is a runner. Mr. Williams runs 5ks and 10ks and trains nearly every morning. Before each race, there are rituals he has been following for 30 years.  He said, “I can’t imagine doing anything different.”

Mr. Williams eats one piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter, one banana, and a glass of orange juice before a race. After eating, he will swim a mile, and run another mile until the race starts. He continues running while the gun goes off and won’t stop until the finish.

One of the varsity football team’s captains, junior Liam McIntyre, shared his rituals before a game. In the locker room, Liam will kiss a gator head. While in the weight room, he will recite the Husker Prayer with the entire team. On the field when the team is warming up, captains will get called to the middle of the field to meet with the refs. After, the Husker Prayer is chanted again.

To prepare for a big game, three sport varsity athlete, sophomore Isabelle Smith will listen to two songs, one to inspire her, and the other to get her hyped up.  She will eat a bag of pretzels or goldfish, which to her “is just a mental thing.” Lastly she will put a silk tag in her left sock, because she “loves silk.”

Belle will also get her back cracked to loosen everything up. Belle isn’t one to get nervous, but in the last few hours before a game she won’t think about it. This isn’t a new thing; she has done it ever since she has been on varsity sports.

Senior Dylan Laube, last year’s Joe Cipp award winner, has been doing pre-game rituals since he started high school. The day before a football game, he puts the achievement stickers from coaches on his helmet, which signifies outstanding plays in his last game.

The night before a game, Dylan will wear an Adidas jumpsuit to the team’s pasta dinner.  He says he “has and always will” wear the jumpsuits, which he owns in a variety of colors.  He also brings his pads home to air them out.  Before the game, in the locker room, he will call his parents, just “to talk” and they will wish him good luck.

The purpose of pre-game rituals is to improve self-efficacy, making sure that your mind has full control over your body. Pre-game rituals are there to help your performance, not hurt it, calming nerves so you can focus on your game.    

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