It’s time to get fired up: Pregame rituals help athletes focus on games

Spartan Pics

Austin Kaminski, Orange Sports Editor

“It’s time to get loud, it’s time to represent. West Springfield, what time is it?!”

This famous chant has been repeated by every girls basketball player throughout the last few years. While there is no real traditional reason for this chant, it helps to get players excited for the game which can definitely  enhance their in-game performance.

If anyone was a part of the great blob of orange otherwise known as our student section, they would know what a great effect momentum can have on the outcome of a game, and chants such as this can help to swing the momentum in favor of the  Spartans.

“We do the cheers that everyone sees,” said freshman Amy Berglund, a starter on the girls Varsity basketball team. “But we also do cheers in the locker room, say a team prayer and listen to music.”

Chants aren’t the only rituals commonly practiced before games or meets. While there is an obvious need to get pumped up before a big game, calming one’s nerves is a key part of playing the best game possible. Most athletes have a pre-grame ritual that helps them to calm down before games. Music is always a popular choice for athletes to relax before games.

“We usually listen to Rihanna or Justin Bieber as a team before the games,” said Berglund.

While most teams have a pregame ritual, many individual athletes feel the need to get away from the chaos of the locker room for a bit before a big game.

“I usually walk away from the locker room right before the game so I can say a prayer by myself so that I don’t draw attention to myself,” said junior Michael Tobias, a linebacker on the Varsity football team. “I also listen to music and focus on what I need to do.

Prayer is always a popular choice for pregame rituals among WS athletes. While some, such as Tobias, wish to do individual prayers, most teams also have a team prayer.

“I generally don’t pray by myself,” said junior baseball player Connor Tagg, “but we always have a team prayer to help us focus.”

There are some high stakes in high school games, which can lead to athletes getting extremely nervous. This can lead to some athletes having unusual pregame rituals, such as senior Mitch Hadfield’s tendency to throw up before every game.

While it may sound strange, it is not particularly uncommon, as Hall of Fame basketball player Bill Russell would do the same thing.

“I would get myself really hyped up and nervous,” said Hadfield. “And sometimes I would choke up a bit as well.”