Game Day Rituals, by Mark Geyer
Game Day Rituals vary, but one thingís for sure, every player, whether he knows it or not, performs a Game Day Ritual. From eating the same thing at the same time, or arriving at the ground the same time each week, every player likes to have a routine that is hopefully incident free.
Many things have changed in league over the years, one being the travel to and from grounds by players. When I first started out, it was get there the best and quickest way possible, these days luxury coaches have replaced the suburban car as the best transport to and from fixtures.
Personally, I always find the same ritual for every game. Whether it be a trial game in Armidale or a semi-final at the SFS. Obviously the butterflies are alot more prominent if youíre playing in a blockbuster game, but generally things usually flow the same way for me each week.
In between 7.30am and 8.00am wake up, have a cup of coffee, watch a bit of tele, and then just relax for a while.
9.00am to 9.30am read the papers (check latest news on opponents).
10.00am do some light weights (some stretching to warm up, then have a hot Radox bath.
10.30am watch more tele, more stretching, start experiencing funny sensations in the stomach (hope Iím not pregnant!). The games are cominí.
11.30am have a shave and shower (shampoo), build up for games have well and truly commenced by now.
Kids and wife know itís time to disappear, (some how they donít seem to know what this means...........haha).
12.00pm start getting dressed and packing bag for game.
Living 3 minutes from Penrith Park has allowed me to get to the games in a quick and stress free fashion.
Depending on what time we played, I always liked watching the lower grades before heading down to the sheds to get ready. Alot goes through your mind once you arrive at the ground. Thereís the countless nervous widdles that have also become somewhat of a Game Day Ritual.
Then thereís the Idle chit chat - that usually means players are trying to dissolve all the nervous energy that is about to explode.
Game Day Rituals can change dramatically if you play away and even more so when this is an interstate or overseas game. Such things as small beds, bad food, slow buses, even planes being on time, these things we never had any control over. So it was even more important to stay focused, but this was always easier said than done.
Playing both interstate and abroad always tested your resolve.
You can bet every player pulling on the boots this weekend, and even the refs, will be very conscious and aware, that their performance will indeed hinge on just how well they plan their Game Day Ritual............M.G.