A Project for Better Journalism chapter
General, Sports, Student Life

Pregame Practices

What do brushing your teeth, wearing a messy updo, and funky socks all have in common? The answer may seem non existent, but they are all pre-game rituals student athletes at OTHS follow. You see athletes play their favorite sports, but what you don’t see is the odd superstitions or rituals they must follow to ensure a good game.

Many athletes have superstitions regarding what they wear or, for female athletes, how they style their hair. For example, sophomore Maddie Carroll wears her hair in a messy bun for every volleyball and basketball game. She has been wearing a messy bun for as long as she can remember for every practice and every game. “I feel like I’m more engaged in the game (when my hair is up),” said Carroll.

Some rituals have nothing to do with what athletes wear or how they must do their hair. This is the case for senior Cassie Claus. Generally speaking, the average person brushes their teeth twice a day: once in the morning and again before bed. Before any sporting event she plays in, she brushes her teeth. Claus said, “It’s a perfect ritual because I have a fear of cavities, and I love my teeth.”

Rituals aren’t just limited to individual athletes, however. The volleyball team shouts the classic “OOO-TT-AAA-WA OTTAWA!” cheer before the start of every home game. On the other hand, the boys cross country team has a rather unique ritual. According to junior Keegan Nagle, “The team huddles up, and one of us tells the same joke before every meet.” Nagle declined to share the joke with the “Pirate Press,” stating that it is “classified information.” As for the soccer team, senior captain Kekoa Gross says the team always relies on teammate senior Drew Stoudt to be their “team hypebeast” before every game. “He always thinks of the most creative, motivating, and heartfelt things to say to the team. He’s a real sweetheart,” said Gross.

All rituals differ from person to person, but they are all a personal touch to help athletes feel more in touch with the game. Whatever the ritual and whatever the sport, OTHS athletes are sure to have a great season.

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