Ashton Hall is a junior forward from Tennessee (via Colorado). She currently has 2 goals and 2 assists after missing the first few games this season with a leg injury. Ashton is a great student and looking into the medical field after college. She writes about her pre-game rituals and the mindset she brings to each match.
Because Game Days are not plentiful, pre-game preparation is key, especially conference pre-game. Beyond team rituals and doings, I have my own pre-game “swag,” if you will.
Let’s begin with the 24-hour rule. Starting 24 hours before kickoff, I only wear UTAH attire. I like to look at the colors my team will be wearing for the game.
My night-before meal is pretty extravagant, and rightly so. You have to feed the tiger to give him strength to fight. Something like outback steakhouse or olive garden is appropriate.
8 hours of sleep is always a necessity. Not too much more and definitely not less.
Upon arising, I flip on some music to get me rollin’. Not necessarily pump up tunes, but more like feel good tunes. And turn on the sub woofers on the system, of course. A little bass for game morning is always a good idea.
After showering while feelin’ the good vibes from the music, I blow dry and straighten my hair. Why? That’s easy, I believe in the saying “look good, feel good, play good.”
Now I’m ready for a green smoothie. Can’t beat fruits AND veggies for breakfast.
I purposefully do not have class on Fridays. Nothing will distract me from those Friday night lights.
Late morning is when I make my first trip to Tom for some game prep treatment. Being proactive with making sure my body is ready makes the mental strategy easier.
Midday I grab a snack, most likely a bagel. Gotta keep fueling the fire.
About 6 hours before game time I start listening to my beats and pulling out more pump up songs. But I am careful not to get too pumped up this early on, just a song here and there to remind myself how much fun I am about to have.
I start to visualize our field. My team. Specific plays. Scoring goals. Celebrating and, most importantly, winning.
Four hours before kickoff we have pregame team meal. I eat lightly during this meal. Best to not be too full when warm-ups commence. This is the first time I see most of my teammates. A positive aura spreads as we eat and chat. Everyone is in red and black clothes, and the spirit is ignited. And the Utah Utes are United, baby.
The second visit to Tom is next. I get warmed up by doing rehab exercises. This is my individual time. Headphones on, music loud, pondering the game. Smiles are floating throughout the room as others get themselves prepared. I see laughter between other teammates. Everyone uses this time differently, but for me, its 100% soccer focused.
Once treatment is over, it is about an hour and a half before kick off. My jersey set is folded in my locker and I can feel the life of the team when I enter the locker room. Life and love radiates.
I put on my shorts first, then my warm-up shirt. Then left sock followed by the right one. Ankle brace then cleats. Left shin guard, then the right one.
I write two acronyms on my left forearm and then put my red sweatband on. Everything goes in this order.
Next up is the famous locker room shenanigans. A little droppin’ it like it’s hot and a little bump and grind. We get a little sweaty, but we view it as a warm-up to our warm-up, so it’s not a problem.
The coaches enter the locker room one hour before kickoff to give us the game news. Now it is time for warm-up. When the cleats get laced, it is time to shine. Every ounce of effort, sweat, tears, and heart that has been put in and sacrificed is proven NOW.
IT IS GAME TIME.