Before the game starts, before warm-ups begin, before the fans fill the seats and before tickets are even sold, athletes prepare for competition in the most fascinating ways, ranging from the food on their plates to the clothes on their bodies. Different athletes have different superstitions that will help them perform better. It’s the pregame routines that prepare CWU athletes before each game.
The CWU volleyball team likes to get active and verbal inside the locker room before running out onto the gym floor. Junior setter Gabrielle Aihara leads the team in a “Mili Mili” chant, a Samoan war chant that was traditionally done before they went to battle.
It starts with the team in a tight circle facing the center. Aihara leads the chant by signaling for the girls to rub the palms of their hands together. The team then claps and rhythmic chants are made by Aihara.
Senior outside hitter Madison Weg then leads the girls in prayer directly afterwards. Once those routines are complete, the girls always say “rise up” before leaving the locker room to get the team hyped before each game.
To get her body ready, senior outside hitter Shelby Mauritson likes to fuel with pizza Lunchables and Top Ramen prior to gametime. It’s a routine that reminds her that it’s officially gameday and lets her body know it’s time to prepare.
“One time I ate it and we played really good as a team,” Mauritson said. “We may not always win, but now I have to do it every time we play.”
Before preparing inside the locker room, freshman basketball player Zellie Hudson likes to get his mind on-track by zoning everyone and everything out. His routine involves a lot of silence and starts well before gametime.
“I have to put my phone on airplane mode two hours before the game,” Hudson said. “Then I listen to my playlist two times and don’t say any words to anyone until I make my first basket in warmups.”
This ritual clears his mind and makes sure that all he is focused on is the next 40 minutes of the game. Hudson’s teammate Andreas Brown likes to do something a little more subtle. It’s something that can’t be seen in preparation and is something that most of his teammates didn’t know about.
“Before each game, I always have my socks inside out,” Brown said. “No rhyme or reason. I just decided one day that I was going to wear them inside out.”
Any athlete likes to receive pep talks to raise their spirits and any tips that will help boost their performance. Motivation is key and football redshirt freshman Daniel Johnson likes to get his mentality straight by hearing from the ones he loves most.
“I listen to music and call my family,” Johnson said. “They give me some good game day advice before every game.”
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