Five minutes before stepping on the field… the moment before your stunt group goes up… seconds until the curtain opens… In these moments, it matters what you do to get yourself ready—a mental preparation. What we do not think about however, is how sometimes, in these moments, some of the best superstitions are created.
A superstition is defined as a belief that is not based on knowledge or reason. They come in various types, some of the most common ones emerging from sports teams and clubs: praying before a competition; a team chanting before a game. Many groups believe in ritualistic handshakes before they go on. Some clubs like to practice running through their favorite play to make sure they have it down perfectly. Others choose to listen to music before games to get hype and gather the right mindset. All of these superstitions are valuable to the members of the group before their big moment.
Yet it’s not just sports teams. Superstitions exist in all types of clubs: drama, band, cheerleading. Each group has their own kind of lucky ritual that members bring to the table. To get an accurate idea of what goes on in Hopatcong High School’s locker-rooms and gym, auditorium or band room, a person from each area of the afterschool activities was surveyed. To be fair, questions were asked to a mix of both boys and girls, making sure that all four grade levels were represented at least once. Needless to say, the results are interesting.
In case you were wondering what goes on behind the curtains of an HHS play or musical, Abby Dekker gave us an inside look. Ever since her first show in eighth grade (The Wizard of Oz), to see the audience, Abby has lain down on the stage before the play and taken a peek under the curtain. Abby, now a junior, claims that without this practice, she would feel all out of sorts during a performance. In addition to looking under the curtain, Abby has a ritual of drinking two energy drinks before a show: one while she’s getting makeup done, and one right before the show starts.
In the world of football, Danny Farina and Zack Spina commented on what they do before taking that first step onto the field. Danny, a junior, says that the team says a prayer together in the endzone before going on the sideline. Zack, a freshman, thought that the most important part was the inclusive team dinner held in the cafeteria. Both boys also pointed out that for inspiration, the team watches a motivational video about an NFL player, which motivates them to push themselves on the field.
Jess Alvarez gave us the inside scoop about what happens in the girls locker-room before a basketball game. Jess, a senior, says that the girls go in the team room together and sing and dance to songs that hype them up; it helps them prepare. Once on the court, the girls hold hands through the national anthem and do ritualistic handshakes as the varsity team runs out.
The cheerleaders have their own special way of getting ready to compete. The girls also join the football players in the cafeteria for the team dinners, and this allows them to feel closer and to communicate before their performance. Sophomore Julia Lamanna says that before she performs, she always says a quick prayer that all of her stunts will hit. Julia is a flyer, meaning that she’s the girl that goes up in the air on the sidelines.
Lastly, Ben Bibeault had a few words to say about the boys basketball team. Ben, a junior, is a small forward on the team. He is also a captain this year, alongside Tyler Dixon and Ryan Latella. Ben’s superstition is more of a good luck charm than anything. Ben said, “Sometimes I wear the same socks for the next game if I played really well the game before.”
It seems that Hopatcong High is home to a diverse group of teams and clubs with their own diverse traditions and rituals. While some of the answers matched common ones found online— praying, singing or performing a special handshake— Hopatcong puts a special twist on each of them. After all, superstitions are worth believing in… maybe even the crazy ones.