Game day rituals: ASU football players open up about their pre-game quirks

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As many sports fans know, jinxes, rituals and superstitions are as much a part of the game as skills and scoring. This holds true for many of the players as well.

A few key ASU football players took a time out with College Times to explain their habits, beliefs and pre-game activities they’re sure will result in a win.

College Times: What rituals do you have before or during a game?

Zane Gonzalez (sophomore, kicker): I don’t really do much. I just stretch out and cross myself before each kick. I think it’s one of those OCD things that just helps with confidence, really.

Damarious Randall (senior, free safety): Well, the night before a game, I normally take a 35-minute shower, that’s around like 8 or 9, just before bed check. Then, me and Jordan Simone (ASU defensive back) will pick out something on Netflix, and we’ll actually watch a movie together. We normally mention something about the other team we’re playing, but after that, we get our mind off football before we go to sleep.

What do you think that helps with?

Randall: It just keeps you calm. If you get too “up” before a game, you can lose a lot of energy. You need a lot of energy to perform well at this level, so you have to try to stay calm and collected. We know our opponent so well that thinking about it too much will mess up our minds. We need to do something to keep our mind off the game, so we talk about family, friends and anything except for football.

Do you have any other superstitions?

Randall: I think if I take a shower the day of the game then it will honestly drain a lot of my energy. I think the hot shower is taking sweat and stuff like that off me.

What’s your favorite part of getting ready for a game?

Randall: Getting the IV before the game because I cramp a lot. It’s so cold flowing through your

veins—it feels great, other than the needle part. I’m scared of needles, so I try not to look at it.

What rituals do you have before a game or practice?

Mo Latu (senior, defensive tackle): Before practice, I definitely take advantage of Coach Graham’s idea of the picture in the locker. Definitely take a long look at the picture and think about all the hard work you need to do—it’s a picture of my wife and daughter.

What do you think that helps with?

Latu: It really motivates me. When I’m down or I’m tired, I have to realize it’s not only me behind-the-scenes; it’s my wife and my daughter, so I’m not just doing this for me, I’m doing it for my family.

Do you have any other game day superstitions?

Latu: I used to be like that [overly cautious on game day]in high school, but then I realized that everything happens for a reason.

What rituals do you have before a game or practice?

Jacom Brimhall (freshman, running back and special teams): Before a game, my family knows very well not to text me because I like to be silent. I love silence. I’ve got three songs that I listen to before I can listen to anything else. There are two Slipknot songs, and then since I’ve listened to rap my entire life, I have to listen to “We Dem Boyz” or something by Wiz Khalifa.

How long have you been doing that?

Brimhall: The three songs change every single year, but even in high school, I had three songs I always listened to. In high school, I would watch “Friday Night Lights” the night before. I would fall asleep watching that. Now here, because we’re in a hotel, I’ve also adapted to watching ASU highlights or film. I listen to a couple highlight films, get pumped up before I go to bed and hopefully have dreams about the game.

Do you guys have any group rituals or chants?

Brimhall:Kind of. What the running backs do is we go out to dinner at Don and Charlie’s. I’m kind of new to the whole thing, since this is my first year, but what we do is everyone has to have asparagus. DJ Foster said we have to do it, so we do it!

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