Traditions or Superstitions?

To an athlete, the pre-game is just as important as the game.  Whether the pre-game involves what you do, what you wear, or what you eat, at McDaniel College, where approximately 33% of the student population plays at least one varsity sport, there are some very interesting rituals and superstitions to be found.

Green Terror teams will usually share in certain pre-game routines together.

The field hockey team will circle together the day of the game and hold hands.  Their coach starts a squeeze and the team passes the squeeze around the circle.  At the end of the ritual, the team then claps and yells, “Ahh, Terror!”  Players like to be near certain teammates each time during this circle.

In addition to their circle, Katie Corson, a junior field hockey player, shared that “At the end of a practice the day before a field hockey game we always a do a cheer we made up.”

For the girl’s basketball team, members partake in a team meal before games.

The baseball team has a team huddle to get them pumped before games.  Some players also have different handshakes with their teammates.

Individual players also have personal routines.

Sophomore Morgan Koopman is a member of both the golf and basketball teams.  Before her golf matches, she likes to get mentally focused by listening to music and practicing hard before she tees off.  Before basketball games, “I have to make a shot before I go into the huddle; I can’t end on a miss.”

Junior Torin Lehmann, a Wrestler, also likes to listen to music before matches.  “I visualize how I hope the match will go that day.”

Hope Batista, a junior on the field hockey team, taps both sides of the goal with her stick on their warm up lap before field hockey games.

Ashley Meister, a sophomore softball player, prepares for games in the same way before every game. “I warm up every pitch in a certain order and I always do the same amount of pitches for every pitch so it’s equal.”

Some superstitions are based on appearance.  For the field hockey team, if they are on a winning streak, players will continue to wear the same sports bras, underwear, or socks to continue the good luck.  Batista also wears a lucky ribbon in her hair to every game.

During the game, the superstitions continue for some players.  Meister always turns left when she walks back to the mound, “unless I just pitched two balls.  Then I walk back to the right.”

Erinne Warrenfeltz, a junior on the softball team, uses the same routine before every at bat.  “First I need to put on my ankle brace, and then my batting gloves, and then I put on my elbow brace.  I only put my helmet on outside the fence before I take my practice swings.”  And if the team is having a good inning, she will not fix her hair.

While it is hard to tell if these pre-game rituals are just superstitions that help ease the minds of the athletes, it is clear that no one will be missing their routines before the next game.