Sock, songs and stretches help prepare superstitious Pioneers for stable success


Photo by Dannys Marerro

Jryi Davis during his third attempt to score at the triple jump event Saturday at the Youngstown State University Invitational.

Written By Dara Collins, Co-News Editor

Senior Jryi Davis wears the same green and white Nike socks for every track and field meet.

Freshman Jonathan Hanks laces up his left soccer cleat first but steps onto Highmark Stadium’s field with his right foot.

Sophomore setter Julia Menosky bounces and spins the volleyball before tapping her left foot.

Point Park University boasts 15 different athletic teams for men and women. Regardless of the sport, Pioneers have unique preparations before competitions.

Davis’ special socks made their first appearance when he hit a personal best and qualified for nationals in the triple jump event.

“Now those are the only socks I wear to jump in,” Davis said in a phone interview. “Also, the little cushion around the ankle that the socks provide make me subconsciously feel like my foot is secured.”

Davis goes one step further to secure his feet before his last jump.

“I have to retie my spike laces before my last jump,” Davis said. “That’s something I’ve been doing since high school. I always like to tie my spikes as tight as I can before my last jump, close my eyes and tell myself that this is going to be a good jump as I am kneeling on the runway.”

Davis also listen to two particular songs, ‘How Great” by Chance the Rapper and “Unwind” by Healy, prior to meets.

The softball team also enjoys music when traveling to away games, according to sophomore outfielder Paula Ambrose, to avoid bad luck.

“We make sure the bats, when laid out, don’t cross,” Ambrose said via phone. “That’s bad luck. They have to be straight against the fence. We don’t step on the lines that are spray painted on the field before the game starts, not even when throwing and during warm ups. That’s also bad luck.”

Sophomore guard Tyra James calls her father for good luck before every women’s basketball game.

“I started doing it in high school when he couldn’t make it to all my games,” James said. “He’s usually at work so it’s just a quick call. He usually says something like, ‘Go out there and do your best.’”

Junior Ashley Taylor believes her socks, songs and hair set the base for a good performance on the volleyball court.

“I have specific home game and away game socks that I wear, I listen to the same songs before warming up and I normally make sure my hair is the same way for every game with a Nike headband,” Taylor said. “If I don’t do well that game, I blame it on those little things.”

While some routines include unconventional steps, other athletes take physical measures to perform well.

Sophomore Chance Callahan loads up on carbohydrates the night before a track and field meet to perform his best in the triple jump. Sophomore baseball team member Luis Diaz visits the athletic trainers’ office on a regular basis.

“I like to get my treatment done,” Diaz said. “I’m pretty specific with it. I go heat, then stretching, then stim and I have to listen to my type of music.”

Treatment from the athletic department has mental and physical benefits for the athletes, according to athletic trainer Adam Brown.

“If an athlete comes in and does treatment the same way that works, then I would say do it,” Brown said. “If it doesn’t work initially, then I would say switching it up is good.”

Brown confirms the physical advantage of the department’s services, but he has also witnessed athletes who utilize stretching, heat and other remedies to ease their mind.

“If I had these services, I would absolutely use them as a preventative measure,” Brown said. “Think mentally, ‘I’m a little sore, but I’m not injured per say, but maybe I should come in and get treatment to get better.’ It’s fine. Some heat and a little roll out is okay to prevent an injury from occurring.”

Brown has his own routine before participating in Triathlons and other athletic events.

“I do ten minutes of stretching,” Brown said. “Everyone should stretch. It doesn’t take that long.”

Whether a practice or game day routine physically and/or mentally prepares an athlete to compete, Brown emphasized the importance of doing what is best for individual needs.

“You just need to find what works for you,” Brown said.