The excitement and anxiety kick in as I step on the field, family and friends in the stands cheering as we come out.

savannah next to her dad after a MSJ lacrosse game.

Whether it’s the first game or in the middle of the season, the jitters always feel the same. We gather in a horseshoe shape and hit sticks as our names are called one by one. The roster lines up on the field and we’re ready for the game to begin. No matter what sport you play, the feeling of excitement as your name is called will be there, but what makes these various Mount St. Joseph team games different other than the action? Every team has their own traditions for game days before stepping onto the field or court.

Personally, I don't have any superstitious socks I don't wash to wear every game or a lucky song. The routine of mine before games does not rely so much on set traditions as it does routine.

savannah with MSJ lacrosse team.
Photo: MSJ lacrosse team

About two hours before games, the women’s lacrosse team meets in the quad for prayer. We stand in a circle in front of the St. Joseph statue and wait for Coach Paige Apel to meet us. This tradition has been going on long before I started playing, and even when my coach played for the Mount. A common prayer we say comes from God, Be in My Sport: “God, let me play well but fairly. Let competition make me strong but never hostile. Forbid me to rejoice in the adversity of others. See me not when I am cheered, but when I bend to help my opponent up. If I know victory, allow me to be happy; if I am denied, keep me from envy. Remind me that sports are just games. Help me to learn something that matters once the game is over. And if through athletics I set an example, let it be a good one.”

The importance of these words said while we stand hand and hand sinks in. Apel continues the tradition to maintain the importance it is to her, her faith, and the mission of the Mount. Not only that, but she feels as though it “allows everyone a few minutes to slow down, and ‘check in’ with their faith, or have their own private moment, while allowing us to grow as a team.”

After prayer, we head back to the locker and begin listening to a pregame playlist. I head to our athletic trainer Logan Chowning for my pregame therapy. I’ll lie on the table with a hot pad on my back to allow it to relax more and avoid being in more pain after the game. After doing some back stretches, I hop up on the taller tables to have my feet wrapped in tape.

Then he wraps the tape up my arches and around the back of my heels. This allows for my arches to not become tight and sore when I run, while also protecting my heels from blisters. After the first round of tape, he puts a pre-wrap tape around my whole foot to keep everything in place.

After the final prep of my body, I’ll go back into the locker room and start putting on my cleats and getting my gear all together. Last season we got into the routine of lining up for face black. Our goalie Emily Stiles will put it on our cheeks and then teammate Riley Gintert will swipe it down our faces to smudge streaks. Finally, I put on my jersey and am ready to go.

The routine before games allows me to get in a more relaxed mindset and just enjoy the game I'm about to play. Each person and team has their own tradition and routine that makes their game days special. It is in these moments before the game that we set up our mindsets on how we will play.

Cover Photo: Savannah next to her dad after her game.