By Gaby Barraza
With many sports now in season at the Bay, students such as sophomore Ludwine Montimere, who is on the junior varsity football cheer team, engages in activities that boost her morale before cheering. Montimere said she does many pregame rituals to prepare and ensure she has a successful, enjoyable game.
“For away games, we always eat pizza together and play games,” Montimere said. “Games like Shabooya roll call help us all have a ton of fun before games and bring us closer together by making us laugh.”
Montimere said these pre-game rituals are important for her team because they help calm down other stressed-out teammates when they begin to worry about the game. She said she attempts to help others on her team before every game.
“Some of the girls become stressed out before games and these [rituals] help them feel better to make sure they are ready and in good shape for the game,” said Montimere.
Montimere said rituals also gets the team enthusiastic before a game. She said without the pregame rituals she feels that it can get dull and that the cheer team could be lacking spirit.
“Even though we may win or lose, pregame rituals help encourage us and make us feel optimistic,” said Montimere. “I believe rituals work well in terms of preparing the team and bringing us closer together as well. When we don’t do our rituals, everyone is clearly not as excited.”
Sophomore Joseph Flemmings is on the varsity football team and plays receiver and safety. Flemming said that he does a multitude of pre-game rituals that are important in order to help him play well and stay calm during a football game.
“I like to listen to music, mostly rap, to give me a push before the game. Listening to music helps me to focus more and it gets me eager to play,” Flemming said. “These things put me in good spirits and calm down my butterflies.”
Flemmings also said he is able to bond with his teammates when he does his pre-game rituals. He said that being able to bond with the other players allows him to play better because they are a more unified team.
“Not only do our pre-game rituals calm our nerves, but they help us connect and play better,” Flemmings said. “Focusing on a simple ritual before a game always makes my team and I feel better.”
Senior Eugene Louis-Jacques Jr. is also on the varsity football team and plays linebacker and running back. Louis-Jacques said his priority is having all of his attention on the game, so his pre-game routine fits his necessities for the game.
“During my pre-game rituals I need to be sure that I can be focused on the game, so I like to focus on myself and pray before a game,” Louis-Jacques said. “I sit by myself for a little and try to concentrate. I do everything I need to do to get ready for the game.”
Athletics Director Scott Selvidge said it is necessary for students to focus on the task at hand, which is playing their game to the best of their abilities.
“As a past head coach, I used to do it [rituals] in terms of catering what the athletes need in order to focus on their game,” Selvidge said. “I think pre-game rituals allow for some fun as well as a boost in confidence in the minds of athletes and how they play.”
Louis-Jacques also said that the routine calms him down when he feels overwhelmed. He said that by doing his pre-game rituals he makes sure that he doesn’t get too nervous and play badly.
“The routine is comforting because It makes me feel better about the game that is coming up,” Louis-Jacques said. “Without my pre-game ritual, I feel off-balanced and I get into my own head. That’s why I always make sure to do my routine before a game so that I can play my best performance.”
Selvidge said pre-game rituals are important for students because they increase motivation for student-athletes who may also be nervous about their game.
“I think pre-game rituals are a bonding and team experience that student-athletes can participate in together,” Selvidge said. “Pre-game rituals, whichever it might be, I think ultimately aid student-athletes on the field or court to better help them focus and prepare for a game, as well as giving them motivation and spirit to do their best in their game.”