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ATHLETE SUPERSTITIONS: THE MENTAL GAME

Players have specific and noteworthy rituals to combat bad luck and help them perform to their highest level.

Gottlieb+Gerstenecker+runs+through+the+course+at+Forest+Park+Cross+Country+Festival+on+Sept.+9.+Gerstenecker+placed+third+place+at+the+Festival+out+of+25+runners%2C+getting+the+time+of+17%3A28.62.+
Gottlieb Gerstenecker runs through the course at Forest Park Cross Country Festival on Sept. 9. Gerstenecker placed third place at the Festival out of 25 runners, getting the time of 17:28.62.

Gottlieb Gerstenecker runs through the course at Forest Park Cross Country Festival on Sept. 9. Gerstenecker placed third place at the Festival out of 25 runners, getting the time of 17:28.62.

Photo by Wagner Portraits

Photo by Wagner Portraits

Gottlieb Gerstenecker runs through the course at Forest Park Cross Country Festival on Sept. 9. Gerstenecker placed third place at the Festival out of 25 runners, getting the time of 17:28.62.


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Since his first meet on Aug. 22, junior cross country runner Gottlieb Gerstenecker, has been taking an oatmeal bath the night before the meet to get prepared for the race. Gerstenecker says the oatmeal bath is therapeutic and makes your skin soft.

Before any cross country race, as Gerstenecker and his teammates warm up before a race, he tugs up his all-white headband, which helps him know he was ready to take on the race.
“So far I’ve been doing it at every meet and I’ve been doing pretty well so I don’t plan to stop,” Gerstenecker said. Doing this every meet has worked well for Gerstenecker, as he is on his way to State.

Gerstenecker is not the only student to have premeet rituals. Junior Ben Prywitch prepares for his baseball games by pulling out his lucky blue pitching socks.
“The socks look like typical baseball socks and are royal blue socks with a whole in the bottom of one,” Prywitch said.
As this season is quickly approaching, he is on the hunt for a new pair of lucky socks. He is unsure on how this tradition started, but they bring him good luck, so he never stopped.
“And yes, I wash them each time,” Prywitch said.

Similar to the socks, tennis player Michelle Skroba has blue strappy sunglasses as her good luck charm to make her feel more prepared.
During one match, Skroba left her sunglasses on the bus. Sure enough, she lost the district match. Was it because of the glasses?
“Or that also could have just been because the girl was better than me,” junior Michelle Skroba said.

Senior soccer player Maddie Canoy calms her nerves by chewing a piece of fruity bubble gum during her games. This has been a ritual of Carnoy’s since sixth grade when she was worried for her first club game and her mom gave her a piece of gum to help her relax.

“Even when I can’t find fruit gum I find any type of gum I can so I have something to chew while playing,” Canoy said.
Some people do more common things to prepare for a game. The varsity volleyball team gets pumped up by listening to Christmas music. They did this all season and they ended with a winning record.

Noah Wittner, who is a senior on the football team, had not shaved during football season until their loss against Ladue.
After that Wittner and his teammate senior Corey Freebersyser shaved after the Ladue game for a clean start, and they keep winning.

“I am keeping it going to keep our win-streak going,” Wittner said. Wittner even postponed his senior picture until after football season, so he doesn’t have to shave.

Freshman Maria Klein finds her good luck by wearing her lucky volleyball shorts. The shorts are all black and she has worn them for two years. These lucky shorts makes Klein’s serves more successful. When Klein is not in them she feels like it even helps with serving.

“If I do not wear this pair during the game I won’t get my serve over the net,” Klein said.

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ATHLETE SUPERSTITIONS: THE MENTAL GAME