Getting ready for the gameday, Pioneer style

The volleyball team gets pumped up for their preseason match against Clark College with their traditional pre-game scream. (Photo courtesy of LC Pioneers)

An analysis of the many and varied pregame rituals of Lewis & Clark’s fall sport athletes


Pre-game rituals have existed since sports first emerged and are still just as important today as they were back then. Though nobody really knows what they did to prepare all those years ago (likely not much), we do know a bit about what our Lewis & Clark athletes have been doing to get ready for the fall sports season.

The volleyball team, for instance, has some rituals of its own. “Before every game, we check in,” said Mikayla Lopez, a first-year volleyball player. “Checking in is going in a circle and screaming.” Mikayla also stated that they all “eat a third of a Cliff Bar before every game.” Before game day, there is less screaming and consuming Cliff Bars as the volleyball players watch film of the opponent teams so that they can “play with confidence and together,” said Kortney Meyer, another first-year volleyball player. During practice, “we visualize winning.” Mikayla elaborated, “You close your eyes and go through the greatest moments you played volleyball.”

The soccer girls also have a “pumpup soundtrack.” They play it “whenever we’re in the training room before a game,” said Kristy Lee (’19). In addition to this, the LC women’s soccer team finds motivation through soccer movies, pump-up music, and team dinners. Senior Emily Thomson explained, “One special thing we do is Team Sisters. Everyone on the team has a ‘sister’ that they look out for during the season and even after the season is over. On game days everyone brings their sister a little gift like food or Gatorade.” Thomson, like many of the other players on the soccer team, has good luck rituals of her own, such as always putting her right cleat on before her left.

Cross country is a bit more individually geared, but every person still contributes to the whole of the team. Before each meet, they run a twenty minute warmup jog. Senior runner Evan Gamza said that “our main goal is to aim to place better than last year in our upcoming meet with no more than 30 seconds between our runners.” Instead of playing music to get hyped up, the cross country team focuses more on being calm, and, as Evan puts it, “having an understanding of what we have to do.” Although the team typically has a quiet mindset, they’ve taken to yelling a new chant this year. Evan explained, “Something new we are doing this year is running into a huddle at the center of the field to chant, ‘We love our bread, we love our butter, but more than that we love each other!’”

The football team is also prepping around this time of the year by holding lots of team meetings, constantly practicing, and watching film of their opponents. Bryce Johnson (’19), a wide receiver on the team, said, “The day of, we come together as a team, wearing nice polos so we look in unison.” However, the team is also focused on their individual goals, which they accomplish through some of their own pre-game rituals. For example, Kristian Grobecker, a senior football player, said that, “Some people write scripture on their tape from the Bible to keep them safe.” Bryce uses the time before the game to call his parents as “a chance to hear their advice,” because he “will be playing the game for them.” Some listen to rap mu- Photo Courtesy of LC Pioneers sic and “the offensive line loves to listen to death metal and act like they’re in the band,” said Kristian. Right before the game is when they do their team ritual. “The coach leads us through reading our goals as a group,” said Bryce.

Though the teams and their athletes all have their pre-game rituals and routines, Noah Avery, a first-year football player, said that the players’ “intent remains the same on and off the field.” The volleyball, soccer, cross country, and football teams have clearly put a lot of effort in and they will continue to push their boundaries throughout the fall season!

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