During my freshman year, my music teacher, Dr. Kobayashi, challenged us to go one day without listening to any music. Most of the class felt that it would’t be a problem. All we had to do was not turn on the radio.
However, the next day, we realized that not listening to the new 50 Cent track or our favorite Green Day song wasn’t good enough, because music is involved in everything. The sound of the teacher or Channel One playing while you’re reading this article is music. While some people listen to music for fun, or while doing homework, or to drown the repetitive voices of parents or siblings, in the world of sports, many players use music to get ready for a big game.
“Music affects all aspects of life,” said Dr. Corbino, Prep’s Musical Director. “It stimulates the brain.”
Whether it be the national anthem or the songs to get the crowd riled up like, “Charge” and “We will rock you,” music is omnipresent in professional sports. Rock, hip-hop, pop and many more all have their place in a team’s locker room.
In 2000, before the New York Football Giants stepped foot on the field for the game that could put them in the Super Bowl, they blared ACDC’s “Thunderstruck.” The 41-0 defeat of the Minnesota Vikings was entirely due the spirited play of Giants, but one could argue that “Thunderstruck” lit a fire under the team that lasted the whole game.
It is a known fact that music helps athletes, and music in the locker room has become quite a commodity. The owner of the Dallas Mavericks installed a stereo system in each player’s locker. Those who’d rather set their own mood have access to $400 Sennheiser headphones.
Some players feel the music during the game is just as important as the music before it. Recently, NFL defensive lineman Kris Jenkins comically voiced his disapproval of the Panther’s song list. “Everything we play is outdated two or three years,” he said. “Who wants to listen to Britney Spears before a game? I mean, ‘Hit Me [Baby] One More Time’ is not going to get you crocked. I don’t think they understand we’re a new generation and different people like different music. If you want the athletes to get really excited for the game, you might want to change it. You don’t have to go X-rated, but it doesn’t have to be sleep music either. We play music that you cuddle to with your girlfriend.”
“Everyone prepares for a game differently, from watching game tape to listening to music,” says Cuban. “I had seen guys argue about what kind of music to play in the locker room. We solved that problem.”
NBA veteran Adonal Foyle was asked what he feels about music before a game. Music is an essential part of a pre-game event for most NBA players. And the kind of music depends on state of mind at that time before the game. Moments leading up to a game, you might be so hyped that you need to listen to something smooth to bring you down. Or when you are flat, you need to listen to something up-tempo to lift your spirits. When I am down, I listen to a lot of Caribbean music. When I am hyped, I listen to jazz or classical.
Sharing his sentiment is NFL player Jonas Jennings. “My thing is I listen to music, and I always think about making the big play. You know, making a big block or doing the things I’ve seen on film, but I’m actually living through it through the music. I keep music on until it’s time to go out. I have an iPod, with over 3,000 tracks, and I just randomly listen to them. I’ve got everything from blues, gospel, to R&B.”
However, some players, like San Francisco 49er Willie Anderson, feel that music in the locker is actually a deterrent. “No music -- I hate hearing music before the game?”
Here at Prep, many athletes use music to get ready for a game, match, or meet. “I listen to music for inspiration,”says track runner John Kiely ‘07. “I use it to get into the competitive mindset I need for track.”
Recently, the University of Miami football program was hit with a dark cloud as a discriminatory rap song surfaced. The song is being downloaded all over the Internet, and the Athletic Department is enraged. Some feel that the outrage over the song is another example of sport’s everlasting attempt to rid itself of the hip-hop image.
It’s an attempt that will probably be an air-ball, a fumble, a tag-out, or whatever sports term means that it won’t happen.