Varsity athletes share pre-game rituals

Peter Clark

Some of the most famous athletes in the world also have strange and superstitious pre-game rituals.  The best basketball player ever, Michael Jordan, wore his North Carolina shorts underneath his Chicago Bulls shorts every game of his professional career because he believed it brought him luck. Jordan’s ritual even set the trend for longer shorts in the NBA because he had to hide his North Carolina shorts.

At Whitman, both the varsity swimming and basketball teams are hopeful for major post-season performances in the coming weeks. In order to achieve maximum performance both on the court and in the pool, some of our athletes take part in superstitious habits to get their mind right for competition. Do they look strange to the average fan at a game? Yes, but the athletes couldn’t care less.

Sarah Anderegg, a sophomore on the women’s basketball team, eats an apple during every game when she is on the bench.

“It started last year. I would get nervous or apprehensive going in and out of the game,” said Anderegg. The solution to the problem: a serving of fruit. “I find apples refreshing, and it really calms me down.”

One of the disadvantages of basketball shorts is that they often do not have any pockets. Junior men’s basketball player Luquam Thompson has adopted both a superstition and solution to this problem: he uses his socks. Since his sophomore year of high school, Thompson has put a piece of gum in his sock, and once warmups begin, he takes it out and chews it.

“It makes all the butterflies you have go away,” said Thompson.

Ian Williams, a senior on the men’s swim team, gets himself ready by turning his swim cap into a drum.

“Before most races, when I am behind the blocks, I pull my cap down below my ears so it creates a sort of drum. I then   drum out the beat to ‘Golddigger’ by Kanye West” said Williams. No headphones, no iPod. “Just me, the cap and the goggles ready to race.”

Senior women’s swimmer Monica Boshart’s superstition seems relatively simple at first glance.

“Before my race, while I am standing on the block, I have to say out loud what I’m about to swim” said Boshart. And if she were ever to forget her pre-race routine? “I would freeze. I would do my start, but then have no idea what race I am swimming”.

Superstitious self-talk can be a good thing, and this case is no exception.