Pre-Game Faith Rituals Strengthen Jaspers’ Softball


Among the many students at MC who practice certain rituals, student athletes are some of the most faithful to them.

Rituals, which can be described as any regularly performed behaviors in a set manner, can often be seen on many of our own courts and fields. These rituals serve several purposes and are at the heart of many teams.

One such team is Women’s Softball. Before games, this team can usually be found partaking in rituals involving music, specials bats and lists, and pelican pens.

During their warm up period prior to the game, the team always listens to a playlist that is collectively put together before the season begins. Dominique Palagruto, a junior on the team says, “We think that music is something that we all connect to and gets us extremely excited to start playing.”

Additionally, Palagruto notes that the team plays some of its best games after letting loose and mixing fun into the pregame routine.

Another ritual the team has, involves a special bat. The bat, which has been a staple since Palagruto’s freshman year, is used by head coach, Tom Pardalis during warmups.

Each year, Pardalis designates one player responsible to carry the bat and won’t start warm ups without it.

Palagruto says, “You’ll hear coach yell for his bat and you know it go time. Get your glove and get ready to warm up.”

Sophomore Nicole Williams, also mentions another tradition involving the starting line up. “We have this thing where if someone reads the line up and we win the game they will continue to read it because they are “on a roll” until we lose.” Williams says she believes the ritual of the line up helps them settle into the game gets them pumped as they clap along when the names are read.

While the rituals mentioned above seem typical for a softball team, this next one stands out among the rest.

The ritual of using a pelican pen to write the starting line up was something Head Coach Padalis did last season. The pelican pen, as described by Palagruto, is a “pen shaped like a wood beam with a pelican sitting on top of it.”

Similar to having the the same person read the lineup if they were on a roll, the pen kept being used because every time Padalis wrote the lineup with it they would be on a roll.

Palagruto says, “The pelican is the weirdest and funniest ritual we have ever done… I guess you can say we had more laughs about it then anything.”

The laughs and fun the team has in doing these rituals strengthens them as a whole. Williams says, “I think these rituals do strengthen our team as a whole because [they] bring us together…”

As for any old rituals, Palagruto notes that the team usually keeps the same ones and passes them down to the underclassmen, except in the case of the pelican pen, where they’ve only done that for one season.

While most of these rituals may seem usual, there is no doubt that this team has strengthened their bond by sharing in these moments, and having fun in the process of playing the game they love.