Friday, March 4, 2011
Player Diary: Tommy Knox on superstitions
By Tommy Knox
Editor's note: Catholic Memorial senior goaltender Tommy Knox checks in with his second Player Diary installment of the hockey season with a firsthand look at the superstitious nature of goaltenders.
In sports there are many superstitions, whether it is a Nomar adjusting his batting gloves in between each pitch or Kevin Garnett bagging his head against the padding of supports for the hoop. But in my mind, hockey goaltenders are the most superstitious athletes out there. Most people do not understand why we do some of the things we do, but it is just part of our daily routine.
On game day, my preparation begins long before I step foot inside of the rink. About four hours before the puck drops I begin to gather up my equipment and load it into the truck. Then, I will head upstairs to put on one specific blue button up shirt along with a zip-up tie and a pair of khaki pants. Then its off to the rink with my mind only focused on the game and what I need to do to give my team a chance to win.
On the way to the rink, I typically try to get a quick nap in, usually as my family gets onto Route 24 in Taunton. Upon entering the rink, approximately an hour and a half before the game, I will have an energy bar in the locker room while taping my stick. Although I am a goalie, I am still particular about the way my stick is taped and if I am not happy with it I will not hesitate to retape it.
One hour before the game begins I will change into my black Adidas shorts and a t-shirt and eat a peanut butter sandwich while the coach talks strategy with the team. After the talk, I will go and take a 20minute stretch before I put my gear on. As I begin to get dressed I have always make sure I get dressed in a certain order. I always have to put on my left sock before my right, left skate before right, and left pad before right. Once I am half dressed, I find a cement wall and take a scene out of the move "Miracle" and juggle 3 golf balls off of the wall. This is a great way to get my hand eye coordination warmed up.
Right before game time the team says a quick "Hail Mary" and go onto the ice.
One final superstition I have before the puck drops is that with about 45 seconds left in warm-ups I skate along the bench as our manager Tim Murray throws me a water bottle. Then, I'm ready to play.
Superstitions can come down to the smallest detail, but as athletes we believe they help us play better. And, as long as we believe that, we will continue to perform them every day.