Music has a funny way of motivating athletes. Some times a simple lyric can be what puts you in just the right mindset for game-time. It may even be what separates a typical day of competition from a day of complete domination. Or that’s at least what we like to think when we put on our headphones as part of our pre-game ritual. This simple superstition is hardly odd. But what I find perplexing is the type of music that inspires athletes to greater heights, ultimate players especially. I have spent many a Saturday morning pulling up to a tourney and hearing music that seems better suited for a middle school dance. Or a mosh pit. Or a rave. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.
In an attempt to broaden my horizons I surveyed various players on their music choice prior to game-time. Some responses I could relate to. Others were more on the quirky side – which is what I have come to expect from the ultimate community. I say this lovingly, of course.
Here are a select few:
“I’m not a very big Metal fan, but something about the song composition seems to work for me before a game. It’s fast and intense at times, but can slow down and seem almost serene as well. I find that to be the perfect balance for me – lots of adrenaline without compromising my focus. My favorite song to listen to is ‘The Dust of a Town’ by Once Nothing” – Leith McMillian, UNT Illeagles, Captain
“There are a couple of songs that really get me ready to go. Macklemore’s ‘Can’t Hold Us’ is absolutely the best pump-up song I know, followed closely by Tech 9’s ‘Beast’. If I can get music in my ears telling me that I’m the best, I know I can be the best. I also like to listen to the soundtrack from the movie ‘300’ to get me mad.” – Jarrod Hockett, UCA Abduction
Take note, people. If in the near future we see a YouTube clip of a player screaming, “This is Arkansas!!!” whilst kicking his defender in the chest, we’ll already have a suspect…
“Oh rap for sure. I like Macklemore a lot!” – Nhi Nguyen, US National Junior Women’s Team
“I really like something that gets my blood flowing. It can be anything. From rock, to rap, to [Carly Rae Jespen’s] ‘Call Me Maybe.’ Whatever at the time gets me loose and in the mood to do something. If my body feels like dancing then it will definitely feel like working out or playing ultimate.” – Austin Walker, Plex Ultimate (Dallas, Texas)
Somehow I knew someone would respond with “Call Me Maybe.” I just knew it. Moving on…
And my 3 personal favorites….
“I generally listen to inspirational speeches before a game. Because it makes me work that much harder for the things my team is trying to accomplish.” –Matt Hudspith, Kansas State Huckstables
I actually never considered this, but it makes total sense. If I could hire Ray Lewis to speak to my team before game-time there would be no stopping me on the field. I may even YouTube a Malcom X speech or two before my next tourney…
“I’m all about [Keri Hilson’s] ‘Pretty Girl Rock.’ Rolling up to the fields with that blaring will get everything going for me.” – Bryan Downey, Oklahoma State Ultimate
That response recalls the middle-school dance comment I made. No surprise here.
“Twerk. I like my ass to vibrate.” – Trevor Hockett, Marcus High School (Flower Mound, Texas)
Just to clarify for those who may not know, “twerking” is a style of dance; in other words, a rendition of booty popping. Whether there is a difference between the two, I cannot say. As comical as this site must be, a part of me is rather interested in seeing how a nice, pre-game twerk-a-thon might affect my gameplay.
After this little experiment, I’ve learned to never question a player’s music choice. Still, some of you folks have a strange way of putting your game face on. How does your pre-game playlist measure up?
Feature photo by Ben Beehner