Athletes need the beat before they compete |

Athletes need the beat before they compete

Bringing it Home
Joelle Milholm
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

There was a lot of good basketball this weekend at Palisade High School. There were last-second dramatic endings, super-human plays, upsets and plenty of entertainment.

However, one thing was missing ” there was no music. No pregame tunes. It is something that has always been there at every game I have ever watched or played in, and its absence left a palpable emptiness.

Now I know this is a sports column and not an arts and entertainment review, but I believe that music is a key element to the preparation of a lot of athletes. Just look around at any game, swim meet, track meet or anything else you can compete in and try to count the number of athletes with iPods. Just be careful, you may need a pad and paper to tally the high number.

Competing in sports is all about focus. In order to get that focus, many athletes have pregame rituals ” many of which include music. Before my high school basketball games, my coach would leave us all to huddle up and listen to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” ” and we came out ready to play every game.

When I play rugby, I love to listen to Metallica “more specifically the “Load” album ” to psych myself up to tackle anyone from a small and speedy wing to a 250-pound prop.

I have made a note of many of the song choices and warm-up selections (they used to be warm-up tapes when I played, and it really doesn’t seem that long ago) and have been fairly entertained by what some of our local basketball teams have picked.

The Roaring Fork boys and girls teams’ mixes are most similar to the music my team had in high school with some Guns N’ Roses, DMX and Lynyrd Skynyrd. One thing that almost makes me have to get up and leave is when the girls squad puts on “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls. Maybe it’s just me, but I could live a very long a fulfilling life without ever hearing that song again.

The Coal Ridge teams have a lot of diversity from the boys’ angry alternative mix with Disturbed and Drowning Pool to the more light-hearted girls mix with Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and even Neil Diamond.

The squads at Rifle, Glenwood and Grand Valley feature mixes with lots of rap with a get-your-heart-pumping beat.

I noticed the Glenwood Springs girls team had a different group of songs, always with the latest hits from Kanye West’s or Rihanna’s newest beat to Janet Jackson’s “Feedback.” We never changed our mixes, not until the next season, and we had the same playlist every game. As the only team with a changing mix, I was compelled to ask them about it.

“We just put on whatever is on Natasha (Derby’s) iPod,” senior guard Sharaya Selsor said.

Oh, I see. It’s a lot easier to change out the music on an iPod than it was to make another mix tape. Damn, I feel old.

Changing the mix is beside the point, however, because all that matters is that there is one. Music with a good beat or motivational lyrics to get athletes pumped up and ready to take on their opponents is essential to sports ” especially when it is playoff time, as it was this weekend.

I hope no team has to go without some tunes to get going before a game for the remainder of the playoffs; not only does it take away from their preparation, but also from the atmosphere of a big game and enjoyment from the fans (and reporters) sitting in the stands.

Contact Joelle Milholm: 384-9124

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