Sports and superstitions

Sports and superstitions

Ben Scopp, editor

Music. Naps. Handshakes. These are just some of the pre-game rituals athletes all over the world use to get themselves ready for a game. St. Joseph Catholic Academy students are not an exception to this notion.

Over the years, the current seniors at SJCA (class of 2018) have developed rituals and superstitions that they believe have helped to take their game to the next level, at least on a mental level.

Maggie Rafferty, a four-year volleyball player, has two specific rituals that she enjoys every game. Whether on the bus or in the locker room, Maggie likes to listen to upbeat, pump-up music. Then, right before the game, the entire team huddles in the locker room and participates in a chant.

Rafferty credits the chant for the enthusiasm that the team enters the game with. “Instead of coming out flat and dull, we come out jumping around and ready to play. I think it has helped us become successful, hence the reason we always do it.”

Ben Scopp, a track and cross country runner, takes superstitions to the next level when it comes to the clothing he wears. He wears the same clothing every meet, no matter the conditions.

“I wear my uniform, then shorts and a t-shirt, then sweatpants and a long sleeve shirt. It doesn’t matter what the weather is. I was out there in 90 degree weather in sweats and everyone looked at me like I was crazy. I still ran a PR (personal record), so I’d say it works.” Scopp also enjoys listening to music before-hand. “Contrary to typical pre-game music, I like to listen to country.”

State-champion tennis player Kaitlyn Kalinka has a laundry list of superstitions. First, she re-grips her racket. Kaitlyn must warm-up for her match in a short-sleeve shirt. “I feel trapped” in a long-sleeve, she says.

Just before the match starts, Kalinka scans the court for leaves. “I don’t want to have the ball hit a leaf and bounce weird.” During the matches, if she thinks that she is going to miss a serve (before she actually physically serves), Kalinka will purposely miss the serve and have the opportunity to re-serve.

Another successful tennis player, Justin Hill, plays doubles with Carson Pond. Before matches, Justin typically will listen to music, specifically rap. He always wears a pair of Nike Elite socks, specially black.

“Whenever I wore the socks, I felt like we played pretty well even if we didn’t necessarily win. So, I started wearing them every game, and now it’s just something I do every single match.”

Rafferty, Scopp, Kalinka, and Hill can’t necessarily explain their reasoning behind the superstitions/rituals, but it is evident that they work. Kalinka won the state title last year in Division 2 tennis and Scopp finished 7th overall in Division 3 cross country, which earned him All-State Honors. Kalinka will go on to play at the collegiate level at UW-Lacrosse.