By: Bryan Giese
It seems that no matter what sport you talk about there are always players that have certain routines, or superstitions before each game. In hockey, it has become a league-wide custom to grow your facial hair during the playoffs. In baseball, the media is not allowed to talk with the next days starting pitcher. Even fans have their own superstitions when it comes to their favorite teams’ positive outcomes.
Do these superstitions work though? Perhaps it will distract the other team enough, with your dull, musty foot odder every time you strike the ball, to give you that half step you need to hit the top corner. But really, let’s face it; we all know that by wearing the same socks, unwashed for more than a game will not help your play, or build friendships in the locker room.
If we know that superstitions don’t change the outcome of an event, why do we believe in them? The main reason is because of what is known as the false cause bias. This is formed when two results occur consecutively with a person noting an exact similarity between the two events. In other words, your team won back to back games because you put your left shoe on first in both games.
The Milwaukee Torrent players are not immune to pre-game rituals, habits or superstitions to help get them in the right frame of mind to get the job done every time they step on the pitch. For most of them it’s about setting the tone, mentally before each game.
Mental preparedness plays big role for many Torrent
“In the bus (going to a game) I usually watch my own highlight video or videos from other players that play my same position,” explains Samuel Biek. “I try to visualize myself on the field and what I want to accomplish that match.”
“My pregame rituals consist of a lot of body and mind prep,” states Kerry Geocaris, Milwaukee Torrent defender. “I do things that I know will bring me the desired feeling I want going into a game. I want to go into each game feeling confident, prepared, ready and excited. I eat the same meals so I don’t mess with my system, I make sure all my gear is ready to go the night before, and I set some boundaries with my family. My children understand that I need some time to myself, and my husband is super supportive in making sure that happens.”
The time during warm-ups is another chance for rituals and superstitions to be noted. For instance, make sure you get to the stadium good and early to catch Elvis Barclay and his ball juggling skills.
“I have to juggle the ball 100 times with both feet,” describes Barclay. “That’s 100 times with just the right foot, 100 times with the left foot, before every training and game. I can’t drop it. If I do, I start all over.”
Kerry’s pre-game ritual begins about 60-90 minutes ahead of time where she does yoga, visualizes her play, listens to inspirational music, and lastly calls her brother Tim. “He taught me everything I know and always gets me ready and fired up.”
Eating becomes ritual trend with the Torrent
“I have an Arizona Ice Tea with honey before every match,” reveals striker, Michael DaSilva. “I used to have other eating habits like eating gummie bears, or cosmic brownies; I used to have those all the time. I would have them before every match because I don’t eat at least two hours before a match, so it was kind of my pre-game snack. Now I guess my only real ritual is that I always wear Nike Mercurial cleats and they must be bright. I tend to change out the laces often in them as well.”
Marybeth Sullivan, Torrent midfielder, says she used to drink black coffee and eat an Oreo pudding before every home game, but now she really isn’t all that superstitious.
“I am pretty basic and easy going before games. I have an oddly large cleat collection, so usually I bring three pairs with me so if I feel off during a game I change it up by changing my cleats. I guess you could say I am a little superstitious.”