The BHS Girls Soccer Team huddles during a recent game this season. Goalie Becca Vitale, center in yellow, has gone through rituals before each game this season. Photo Credit: Carrie Nardella.
Editor's note: In anticipation of the team's appearance in the Class L Girls Soccer state tournament, The Buzz asked staring goalie Becca Vitale, '14, to share how she prepares for each game. She has some pretty particular pre-game rituals.
By Becca Vitale
"Hi, can I have a medium hot carmel latte skim, please?"
It's 7 a.m. and I am ordering my latte, already getting in the zone. Each game day I take the whole day to prepare myself for the game that day.
Going to Dunkin Donuts is just the beginning.
After I get my latte, I then make my way to school. I start my day at school like I would any day, but I add one specific detail into my morning. While I am standing on the balcony before first period, I tweet something very special. The tweet will consist of two things. It will say," GAMEDAY. #beat______" The hashtag says beat, with whatever team we are playing. On the day of our second round Class L tournament game, I let all my all my followers know," GAMEDAY. #beatWilton".
We have had an amazing season this year so far. Heading into this afternoon's second round state playoff game, we are 17-2-1. As the season has gone on there have been things I've added along the way, but I never don't do something. Everything I do plays a role in how I will preform on the field.
All of the ways I prepare are just something I came up with at the beginning of the season. From our first game in September, up until today, I have done everything the same. On the day of a game, if there's time after school, I will go home, and this is where my next preparation starts. I will take an hour nap before I have to leave for my game. This nap comes in clutch for me. When I wake up I feel re-energized and ready to go. I am an avid napper, so it is important I get one in on game days. I always wake up from my nap a half an hour before I need to leave to go to the school. This way I have enough time to eat something and get dressed.
My rituals start to get more specific when I arrive at school. I will come to the school 45 minutes before my bus leaves for a game, or before we go out to take the field for a home game. When I get to the school, the first place I go is into the locker room to grab my soccer bag. I then proceed to the training room where Artie awaits. He tapes my knee and shin like a perfectionist. After those are taped he will tape both of my wrists. Always the right one before my left. There is no specific reason why, it's just what I've done all season.
Once I am done with Artie I go into our team room (Coach Jen Kohut's office) for pre-game stuff. I will sit in a chair and put my gear on. I am not one of those people who does left sock, right sock, left cleat, right cleat, but I do have a sort of order. I will put on my mid calf socks, then my shin guard sleeves. After the sleeves I put on my soccer socks and pull them up over the sleeves. Once that is done I will put my shin guards into the sleeves. Now all that's left is the most important part, my cleats. I will make sure my socks are pulled up nice and tight, then put on my cleats.
Kohut will then enter once we are all ready, to tell us the line up and game stats. After we have our meeting, no matter if we are getting on a bus, or going onto our turf, we slap a sign above the door on our way out. The sign says, "The time is now." This is about the time I start to get in deep game mode.
Home or away warm up is always the same. I will go with Billy our assistant coach to warm up for the first 20 minutes. Then, every game day, Hannah Milles and I pass for the last 7 or 8 minutes before game time. After that, I take my gloves off, put them on our water jog, and sit on the bench for starting line ups to be called.
Once the whistle blows, and the game starts, that's when my rituals are over.
It's time to play.