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Gameday “Sticious-es”

Talia Bertrando ’22, Business Communication and Spanish POE

“I’m not superstitious…but I am a little sticious” – Michael Scott

If you’re one of my roommates coming into my room as I do work, you know that some show like The Office will be on my TV. I’m probably sitting on my bed, I may or may not be taking another “break” on social media, and, if it’s past 3 o’clock, I’ve almost certainly had a snack already. When I’m in the thick of a semester, I like fun, spontaneous weekends, but weekdays are for strict schedules and daily routines.

I wouldn’t call myself superstitious, but I could sometimes be called a creature of habit, maybe even a little sticious. Which is why, on March 20th, I had a little predicament when it came to me and my sticious-es. March 20th was my first real game in a long time. It had been exactly 372 days (yes, my team did the math) since my lacrosse team had played a real game that actually counted toward conference play. As I rode on the team bus to Scranton, PA for the game, one of my most important sticious-es was challenged.

My friend and teammate Fiona is a braiding pro. Throughout my past two seasons of lacrosse, I had always recruited her to do my game-day hair, two French braids trailing down the back of my head, before conference games. With my team headed to one such long-awaited conference game, I thought to myself “Is it even worth getting Fiona to do my hair?” It had been so long since I had played a true game, not just a lacrosse scrimmage or soccer inter-squad tournament, that I doubted if game day habits even mattered to me anymore.

Some “fans” in the stands!

I asked for Fiona’s magic braiding anyway. I figured it would at least be nicer to have my hair and tiny fly-always pulled back and secure under my lacrosse goggles. As it turns out, I’m really happy Fiona and I started back up with our game day habit. The Landmark Conference schools and Juniata put in a lot of effort to get my teams and I back on the field. I know Juniata was one of the few teams in the Landmark Conference to stay in person all throughout this past year because of social distancing and mask guidelines along with a lot of testing. Because of the new rules and new look of my campus, I was allowed to participate in my team’s habitual dynamic warm-up, our passing and shooting drills done before every game, and the routine stick checks and pregame announcement of players. Even this past Saturday, I was able to see “fans” in the stands of my team’s home stadium because Juniata athletics went through the trouble of reaching out to fans to see if they wanted to get their pictures in seats. If Juniata, my coaches, and my teammates can work so hard and be so excited to return to gamedays, why can’t my sticious with Fiona be just as important?

I am a creature of habit sometimes, but there are some things that will never get old. I don’t think I’ll ever get into the habit of hearing my name being called over loudspeakers, running through a tunnel of my teammates’ outstretched hands for high fives, and lining up in the pregame lineup on the field. My team never seems to grow tired of running up and down the field only to see a teammate score. Those nice breathers to stop and pat each other on the back are a respite we could never take advantage of. The love I have for my teams and my sports are no habits. Thankfully, I now have another lacrosse season to never take my team, gamedays, or superstitions for granted.