FHS Athletes Get Their Head In The Game


Julia Cleland

In high school, sports are a big part of many teenagers’ lives. It provides a healthy outlet and allows teens to bond with a team. In order to help bring individual and team success, many student-athletes create pre-game rituals or athletic superstitions.

Nearly every sport engages in saying a prayer before their event, whether individually or as a team, but football has a unique one to build the guys’ momentum.

“I say the husky prayer in the tunnel before every game, which is just a prayer to get the tempo going and get your mind right,” junior linebacker Brett Bowers said. “It builds up, gets louder and louder, and at the end of it, everyone’s pretty much screaming and running out.”

After the prayer, playing under the Friday night lights is a lot of pressure, especially in front of a packed home stadium. Senior linebacker Gary Seidenberger is a man of habit when it comes to accessories and music, allowing him to suppress the pressure and focus on the game.

“Since my sophomore year, which was my first year on varsity, I wear the same wristbands or sweatbands on my wrist,” Seidenberger said. “Every time we get off the bus on a road game, I always listen to the same song, called ‘I’m Me’ by Lil Wayne.”

Seidenberger isn’t the only one who has personal habits. Senior outside hitter Zoe Aldrich eats a tortilla before every volleyball game, gaining energy from the carbs. When it comes to athletic performance, food is a key component in how well an athlete plays.

“I usually eat half of a banana before my race because that gives me just enough energy to run, but not feel full either,” senior cross country runner Juliana Martinez said. “Some people eat a whole burrito before they run. I don’t know how they do that.”

As far as food goes, senior tennis player Bella Rodriguez loves to eat strawberries after she’s finished with her match. Before her match, she enjoys listening to chill music, such as Lana Del Ray, to calm herself down. On the boys’ side of tennis, their shoes are vital to their success.

“A lot of the guys don’t get new shoes because they think theirs are the best thing ever, so they’re all torn and ripped at the bottom,” Rodriguez said. ”They just won’t get new shoes.”

  Shoes aren’t the only thing athletes may not want to part ways with. Senior setter Sydney Schandua wears the same hair tie every single volleyball game. 

“Sydney never has a hair tie, so she asks her mom to bring it,” senior teammate and middle Clara Pluenneke said. “She gets a new one every season and wears it for that season. Last year it was red. This year it’s gray.”

As a whole, the volleyball team started a new pre-game ritual this year: Pop See Ko. The players stand in a circle, singing the Pop See Ko chant. Each individual makes a dance move, which the entire team then repeats together.

“We made it a major priority this year,” Pluenneke said. “It’s basically our warm-up. You really do get out of breath, and it’s just super fun.”

Another fun team activity the volleyball girls started this year is the “goat squad,” created by senior Sarah Stafford, junior Ann Claire Cop, and junior Charli Olfers. 

“The goat squad gives an award to whoever had the best Pop See Ko dance,” Pluenneke said. “When you’re on the bench, you’re called the ‘goat squad.’ We have chants that they made up and lead.

” In addition to volleyball, the cheer team has something special they do during the season, called “Big Sis, Little Sis.” An upperclassman takes a lowerclassman under their wing, showing them the ropes of the cheer program.

“It’s good to show the younger girls how the program is run and what kind of leader you’re supposed to be,” senior cheer captain Annabelle Page said. “It’s just really fun, and you get to hang out all the time. Sometimes we have lunch together or exchange little gifts.”

No matter the routine or tradition, a Billie athlete’s hard work and dedication is what brings home the win.