Warriors use pregame rituals to bond


Morgan Reddekopp

Senior football player Justin Bergeron said after Friday walk through the team huddles around the Winona State Warrior in the middle of the field as a pregame ritual, though no one can step on the emblem since it is bad luck to do so.

Sydney Mohr, Features Editor

Sports teams are often viewed as a family and every family has their own traditions, rituals or routines that they follow. This does not differ for the college students who spend much of their time practicing and working together with their teammates. Not surprisingly, many of Winona State University’s athletes and sports team follow their own pregame rituals before hitting the field or the court.

Three athletes reveal a few of the superstitions that they or other Winona State athletes follow. Junior Tommy Gathje, forward for the Winona State basketball team, didn’t think that his teammates follow any particular ritual.

“I wouldn’t say our team really has any pregame rituals that we do every game,” Gathje said. “We all stretch and get some shots up, but nothing out of the ordinary.” 

But, even though the team doesn’t have a ritual, many individual players have their own routine.

“Some players on our team like to follow the same person out of the locker room before every game, and then stand in the same exact spot for the national anthem before each game,” Gathje said.

The team bonds in other ways. Gathje added that the team bonds together by doing a fantasy basketball league during the season, and that the athletes are always hanging at each other’s houses watching big sports games and going out to eat together.

Senior Justin Bergeron, wide receiver for the Winona State football team, said the same for the football team.

“We always gather in a huddle before going into the locker room before kickoff and do a specific break down, but that’s about it,” Bergeron said.

He added that the team does have one superstition.

“After our Friday walk throughs, we huddle around the Warrior head in the middle of the field and no one can step on the logo. It’s bad luck,” Bergeron said.

The team bonds off the field by going out to eat together, especially on Wednesdays for wings. A lot of the student athletes live together and spend plenty of time playing video games or watching NFL games together on the weekends.

“I think the time we spend together really helps build that bond,” Bergeron said. “There’s a really great family atmosphere built around this team.”

Junior Abby Bohanski, midfielder of the Winona State women’s soccer team, had more of a traditional pregame ritual to share.

“Before every home game, we meet down in the locker room and play music and get ready. We always listen to the songs and the same girls dance and sing to a certain song, like ‘Juju On That Beat,’ ‘The Climb’ or ‘Impossible,'” Bohanski said.

And, of course, Bohanski has her own routine that she follows before every game.

“Personally, I put my gear on the exact same way before every game, and I listen to the same music when we walk to the field,” Bohanski said.

Bohanski said that the music helps bond the women together before games, giving everyone the same mentality to help them connect on the field, and to have a similar game plan when they hit the turf.

The women also bond off the field by spending time at each other’s houses, eating out together and watching movies when they have the time between schoolwork.

While the teams may not be as superstitious as Hollywood makes these teams out, the athletes make sure to spend time bonding with each other on and off the field.