Saturday, August 13, 2011

Preparation or superstition?

"If you don't lose, you'll never be a champion." were the words uttered to me by a friend, the Kidd. The Kidd knows what she is talking about as she prepares with her local 4.5 tennis team for the sectionals to be held in New Jersey next weekend. Kidd, Ice, and the Queen of England have been practicing religiously to win this championship in order to qualify for the nationals in California. This is a big deal for 'women of a certain age.' We don't have the travel teams anymore or the opportunities to do something cool like this on our own. We are working, caring for the kids, families, and animals, volunteering, and keeping up with our homes and apartments. This is basically it. So, the girls are pumped and psyched for this tournament.

I am sure that they will also be preparing just like Buddy and his team mates do before each game. In fact, Ice was sharing that she wears the magnetized balance bracelet and is afraid to take it off. Is this crazy? Seriously, afraid? Nervous? Believe it or not, I get it. In fact, with the way Ice has been playing these days, I may buy myself two of them for double Ice power. My little team is trying to make the regionals, so if 1 bracelet gets Ice to the sectionals, then two should propel us to national champions...right?'s all a matter of mental and physical preparation or is it? The cool calm demeanor comes with personalized preparation 'cause this is different for each person. For example, I just had a quick conversation with Buddy and I posed the question: "What do some of the athletes do to prepare for a game? I am looking for mental preparation because by game time they should be physically ready."

Here is the list:
1. Drink Red Bull then put on cleats.
2. One pitcher when starting a game, places a single pouch of crisp blend dip (chewing tobacco) in his front lip 35 minutes before the start of the game.
3. Some players listen to their IPods and certain play lists.
4. Other players play ping pong in the locker room (yes, they have a ping pong table)
5. Another player listens to Mortal Kombat
6. One outfielder plays the song "Turn me on." in the locker room and does his pregame dance. Yes, I said dance....can you picture Albert Pujols dancing before a game?
7. If the team wins a weekend series, there is a big party at the baseball house (no freshman allowed except Buddy after one game). They call it "Sunday Funday" and according to the big guy, it is a "fun" day.
8. Buddy has more of a regimen than I initially thought....all of the following must be done in order from start to finish. There is no deviation...none at all.
Here is Buddy's secret recipe for game day:
-get to field early
-chug a blue G2
-batting practice
-eat a vanilla powerbar
-wear long sleeve top without the jersey
-stretch arm with bands
-place a big wad of gum in mouth
-listen to Techno beats
-tie cleats
-put on jersey
-sit in dugout for 4 innings
-chug another gatorade
-another powerbar (vanilla only)
-bathroom break
-stretch and run in bullpen
-talk with self
-play catch with TD (another pitcher)
-stretch again
-time to pitch

According to the big leftie: "It's a system. Do whatever you need to do because it works." So, I understand. Playing sports is a holistic endeavor...mind, body and spirit. All three need to be in alignment to succeed. Therefore ladies...put on your plastic bracelets, drink your gatorade, eat your powerbars, tie your sneakers one at a time, take deep breaths as you pull your racquet out of your bag, say a quick prayer, bounce the ball 5 times before each serve, take a deep breath before each play, and do not forget...never forget...that this is really for fun. There are no TV cameras, no life and death matches, just women who enjoy competition, are good at something, and can see what this is all about...a privilege to be out there on the court with a group of friends doing something that you love.....

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