Bears Before the Brawl: Part 2

William Brown, Staff Writer/Editor-in-Chief

Some Hawthorne High School athletes depend on more than just physical ability; they also depend on a good mindset when preparing for a game.

“Before a match, I think about who I’m going to wrestle,” said Ethan Ramos, HHS varsity wrestler. “I picture the whole match in my mind and I ask God for guidance –for help.” Ramos’ path of spirituality is common among high school students. He believes that without that final prayer, his effort is futile.

Evan Ramos, also an HHS varsity wrestler, follows a routine diverse from his brother, Ethan’s. “I run a list of moves through my head that I can use on the wrestler across the mat,” Evan explains. “I always tell myself to never give up.”

The girls’ and boys’ basketball team members also follow specific rituals before a game. “I try to put it in my head that this will be the last game I ever play,”said Aislinn Ellerbrook, an HHS girl’s varsity basketball player. “I also dedicate my performance to someone special like my grandmother because with her on my mind, I’ll play the best I can.”

Phil Polentarutti,  HHS boys’ varsity basketball player, chooses to be alone before a game. “For about five minutes, I go into a quiet place–specifically the back of the locker room – and stretch as well as think about how I am going to play the game,” Polentarutti explained. Concentration is the mindset that helps Polentarutti play the best that he possibly can.

Samantha Contrini, HHS varsity bowler, follows a routine unlike any other. “While I’m bowling, I pick a Christmas song at random and recite it in my head,” Contrini claims. Although unusual, this ritual gives Contrini a feeling of dominance and power which helps her perform at her best level.

“On the bus I drink a Mountain Dew as well as pray to God that I do my best whether the team wins or loses,” said Ian Cabello, also an HHS varsity bowler. The Mountain Dew that Cabello drinks isn’t magical; it’s just a routine that sets his mind to game time.

While some seem sensible and other unusual, these rituals and routines give student athletes the mindset they require to perform the best they can.

This upcoming spring shall hold a new season for new sports and new pre-game rituals to be observed.