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Leg shaving and beef jerky: North Texas athletes dish on their superstitions

Leg shaving and beef jerky: North Texas athletes dish on their superstitions

North Texas sophomore goalkeeper Brooke Bradley drinks Preworkout before every game. She says it helps her get focused on soccer and only soccer. Dylan Nadwodny

Leg shaving and beef jerky: North Texas athletes dish on their superstitions
September 21
14:44 2016

Late in the second quarter of North Texas’ game against Bethune-Cookman University, freshman quarterback Mason Fine dropped back on third down and surveyed the field.

With no options open, Fine darted up the middle and quickly realized he had a decision to make: slide and avoid the safety, or lower his shoulder.

All 170 pounds of him opted for the latter, as Fine levied the boom and picked up 25 yards.

And he could not have done it without beef jerky.

“I always keep a bag of beef jerky [with me before games],” Fine said. “I started that when I was a freshman in high school and I’m not going to stop. That’s just one superstition that I have.”

Rituals, routines and lucky items are common in every sport. When the football team runs onto the field, about half of the guys drop to a knee and say a quick prayer before heading to the sidelines.

One of the football players with a unique routine is junior running back Jeffrey Wilson, who got this idea from his father.

“Before every game, I walk to each goal post,” Wilson said. “I pray at the first one, then I stop in the middle of the field and pray again, then I go to the other goal post and say my last prayer there. When I get back to the eagle I look at both end zones and tell them that I’ll be back.”

From a meal to a nap, most players have something that gets them mentally prepared for a game. For Mean Green volleyball, it’s as simple as jamming out to their favorite tunes.

“We usually listen to music and dance in the locker room,” junior middle blocker Amanda Chamberlain said. “Everybody’s dancing and having fun, and we just get our minds off of the game so when we come out it’s time to focus.”

The volleyball team is a cohesive unit, and their relationships off the court help them on it, however, the team is a little peculiar as far as pregame rituals are concerned.

superstitions_cm

Mason Fine, Mean Green starting quarterback, eats beef jerky to get him stoked before every game. Colin Mitchell

Junior outside hitter Alexis Wright wakes up hours earlier than usual on game days, and usually eats grilled chicken, not fried. Chamberlain prays before coming out of the locker room.

But senior setter Amy Henard may have the oddest routine of them all.

“This is really weird,” Henard said. “But, I shave my legs the night before [a game]. It’s a superstition that I have.”

Some teams on campus have more ordinary rituals, though, like North Texas soccer. In the few moments leading up to a game, the players take the time to focus and prepare as a team.

“We always pray before a game,” senior midfielder Anna Flobeck said. “We always [get into] a circle on the field and hold hands, then we like to sing the fight song before we break out.”

This team-first approach has worked for the girls and has helped with chemistry, which has generated success on the field.

Before the team even goes out for warm-ups, senior midfielder Marchelle Davis eagerly takes every superstitious opportunity available on game days

“If we have a home game, my dad makes me breakfast,” Davis said. “It’s a wrap with eggs, bacon and potatoes. It’s delicious, and I eat two. Then, before games, I’m the last one to get dressed and I wear the same color spandex and sports bra for games.”

On the defensive side of the field sits sophomore goalkeeper Brooke Bradley. She has been named Conference USA goalkeeper of the week twice this season and is always alert and reactive on the field.

A large part of that may be her intriguing pregame habit.

“Once I get dressed and we all head into the meeting room I put Pre-Workout in a water bottle,” Bradley said. “I drink it halfway through [Hedlund’s] pregame meeting, so by the end of the meeting my legs are shaking and I’m pumped for the game.”

Players get creative with their routines and superstitions. They go out of their way to make sure they give their team the best chance to be successful.

Music, prayer and food appear to be the most used habits by athletes at North Texas. There are several unseen and unheard superstitions that players have or do before games to psyche themselves up, and they all help.

At least, the players think they do.

“I listen to gospel music to get myself to keep calm,” Wilson said. “A lot of guys have different [superstitions] on the team.”

Featured Image: North Texas sophomore goalkeeper Brooke Bradley drinks Pre-Workout before every game. She says it helps her get focused on soccer and only soccer. Dylan Nadwodny

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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