Sports

Traditions and Rituals: Preparing For Game Day

Girls Cross Country Andover Girls Cross Country wears Club t-shirts. Once a teammate runs a 5k course in under 25 minutes, she receives a t-shirt that says “Under 25 Club.” For every minute by which she improves her time, she receives a new t-shirt (Under 24, 23…) In addition, the team cheers on the steps of SamPhil. Every Friday at the end of the campus run, the team gathers on the steps of SamPhil to do a cheer for good luck in the next day’s race. They also cheer, “With the wings on our feet we just can’t be beat” as the team runs down the SamPhil lawn and steps. Finally, the team counts in foreign languages on Fridays. During campus runs when the team stops to stretch, the girls count in different dialects, including moos during the calf stretch and counting in Roman numerals. Girls Soccer The girls on the soccer team dress up in specific themes the day of, or the day before a game–depending on a Wednesday or Saturday competition–as a “psyche.” This year’s psyches included “thug day,” “construction worker day,” and even a “dress up like the volleyball team” theme as a response to the Volleyball team “stealing” the “thug” psyche. On Friday nights before Saturday games, Coach Lisa Joel hosts team dinner at her home, Stowe House, for the entire squad. PAFH is a team rich with tradition, both on and off the field. The varsity team has many small rituals to get their teammates and fans psyched for upcoming games. Before a home game, the team draws big blue A’s on their left hands to let fans know their playing on Andover turf. Then, the team will always walk out of the locker room, all holding up their sticks in their left hands as the seniors lead, followed by Uppers, then lowers, and lastly juniors. As they exit, each stick inevitably hits the top of the blue door frames. At practices before games, the team performs what they call “The Kissy Thing”. The team forms two lines, again lead by the Seniors. Then, yelling as loudly as possible, all run as fast as they can to the scoreboard. There, each team member kisses their hands, slaps the bottom of the scoreboard, and cheers “GO BLUE!” After each win, the team forms a circle in the middle of the field. Each game, the players are standing in between the same two teammates. They then perform a “clapping Football On the Friday before every game, the football players wears their game jerseys, showing off a powerful presence around campus and reminding all fans of the upcoming event. On Friday evenings, the entire team eats dinner together. The meal is often catered and consists of Italian food–in very large quantities. The Saturday morning of game days, each player has his own rituals to get his mind in the game. For example, several members of the team, including Co-Captain Chad Hollis ’08 watches “Friday Night Lights” before every home game. Specifically for Andover-Exeter, Coach Mo shaves an “A” into the back of his head. Boys Cross Country In perhaps the most storied athletic program the fall term has to offer, Andover’s boys cross country program is to this day defined by several long-standing traditions. Whether it’s wearing a tee-shirt drenched in teammates sweat, or running up the dreaded Holt Hill for pushups, the squad’s traditions are nothing short of inspirational. The custom of wearing the infamous “log shirt” has been in place for several years. According to Captain Hanson Causbie ’08, the shirt is given each week to the runner with the greatest determination, effort, and improvement in the race from the previous week. The recipient then signs and wears the shirt to Tuesday practice, which is the day the team has the hardest workout. The shirt is not washed until the end of the season, and often becomes stale in between use. Causbie is highly supportive of this tradition, and believes it has a significant impact on the beneficiary: “The sweat of his teammates usually makes this individual perform at a higher level.” Another tradition is the annual run up Holt Hill at the beginning of the season to commemorate the Senior class, and to do pushups. This year, the team fittingly did eight pushups, in addition to the intensive hill training. The squad runs up the hill several times each year. Boys Soccer Like all Andover Boys Varsity teams, the Boy’s Soccer team wears ties every Wednesday and Friday for games. However there is a more distinctive tradition that the boy’s soccer team has each week to set it apart from other teams. For the Andover Boy’s soccer team, the most important honor a single member of the team can receive after any game is the game hat. The game hat is given to the player most important to the team’s success that game. Whether it is through scoring, controlling the flow of the game, or defense, the player given the game hat is the most valuable player of the game as chosen by Coach Carr. The winner of the game hat is required to wear the hat every day until the next game, when the hat is given to a different player. The same hat is used for an entire season. This year’s game hat, a Maine hat, has been given each week to the game’s most valuable player.