The Games Behind the Game
Lollipops and lucky songs mean success for women’s soccer| From Commonwealth | By Jessica Ullian, Slide show by Edward A. Brown
Farrell McClernon talks about her pregame rituals.
What’s the secret to a perfect conference record, a sixth America East title in nine years, and a fourth consecutive NCAA bid? Apparently, it’s Al Pacino. His pregame speech from the football movie Any Given Sunday was a key part of senior forward Farrell McClernon’s pregame ritual last year.
“I create a warm-up playlist every season,” says McClernon (SMG’10), who’s expected to be a key member of the offense this year with the graduation of America East Midfielder of the Year Marisha Schumacher-Hodge (CAS’09). “I always listen to the Al Pacino intro speech before every game.”
Coach Nancy Feldman, in her fourteenth year, says there’s no secret to her team’s track record beyond putting the pieces together from season to season and assessing the group’s strengths. Her players, however, have a few rituals that they say help get them in a winning frame of mind. As the team prepares to vie for another conference title at the end of October, McClernon shares some of hers.
McClernon calls this her “earliest ritual,” dating from her precollege years. “Before every game I had to have a Tootsie Pop, and I’d try to get one with the Indian on the wrapper. Because that’s good luck, obviously.”
“If we have an away game, I’ll always sit with the same person on the bus.”
“When I get up, I have to think about something from a past game. I have to picture myself scoring.”
The rapper favored by Olympic champ Michael Phelps also gets McClernon pumped up: her pregame playlist has included his songs “U Not Me” and “A Milli,” as well as Akon’s “Get Buck in Here,” and Saul Williams’s “List of Demands.”