Graphic by Lily Gumbinner

Some have unwashed lucky socks and others have a secret handshake with a fellow teammate, to get mentally prepared for a big game ahead, but the most common ritual for Dreyfoos students is related to the arts. Swim team member and visual junior Nina Zaremba and basketball player and strings senior  Amare Davis are no different. Both of the Dreyfoos athletes utilize music before meets and games, leaving them hyped for the competition ahead.

“To prepare for games, me and the team get in the gym right after school to get warmed up by taking shots and going through plays to make sure the whole team is ready for the game,” Davis said. “We get hyped to rap music during the warmups listening to Future, Drake, Migos, and other popular rappers.”

While Davis chooses a high-energy method of getting prepared, Zaremba goes with a more calming way to get her head in the right place. Before swim meets, she makes sure to keep her stress levels low for her best possible performance.

“Something I always do in the hours before a meet is listen to classical music, particularly piano pieces,” Zaremba said. “Though in my free time I don’t very often listen to classical, before a meet it really helps calm me down and save up the energy to compete.”

Even though these rituals seem to be a commonplace among Dreyfoos athletes, there is the question of whether they truly work. The idea of listening to music before a game to help you succeed can seem a little bit fallacious at times; however, Davis and Zaremba think otherwise.

They definitely work. I distinctly remember whenever I wouldn’t have any music to listen to beforehand. I would be a lot more anxious and nervous before my swim, which would make me go slower,” Zaremba said. “I wouldn’t be focusing on my actual swimming, instead focusing on the results of it, which is pointless since you can’t swim well without a clear mind.”

Zaremba’s belief that her rituals are the key to her success in swimming coincide with Davis’ when it comes to his own basketball playing. He is also confident that his team and personal triumphs can be associated with the music rituals. Davis does not only attribute his success to these, but also his personal gains as an athlete.

“These rituals become routine and help me perform to the best of my ability by preparing me beforehand,” Davis said. “I started to perform better each game and it’s enhanced my confidence and made me an overall better player.”