Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By Cari Gold
Iowa City, Iowa – Whether it is listening to music, talking to a parent, or wearing their hair a certain way, many athletes have superstitions they feel help them perform better. Few people have the kind of ritual University of Iowa freshman Cali Hoye has developed over the years.
The routine began at San Clemente (California) High School. Two hours before a match, Hoye went to Seven Eleven and bought coffee. Once she got home, she would drink a Mountain Cooler flavor Capri Sun and eat a packet of fruit snacks. As soon as she arrived at the gym, she had a friend braid her hair. She wore one braid for matches in California and two braids for matches outside California.
During the match, Hoye would drink from two water bottles: a purple water bottle (a large sip) and then her green water bottle (a smaller sip) so that the bottles were uneven. She placed the bottles under the bench and faced them slightly toward the door with green in front of purple. If the team was playing poorly, Hoye adjusted the water bottles slightly.
The ritual has changed since high school.
Now, Hoye wears her hair the same for every match, but she still drinks a Capri Sun (Pacific Cooler flavor now) and eats a packet of fruit snacks. This part of the routine has moved from her home to the locker room.
The freshman also has added a break-dance performance of “the worm” to help loosen everyone up before the team takes the court. While most call these habits superstitions, that is not how Hoye sees it.
“I’ve worn my hair different ways in games before,” said Hoye. “Last weekend I ran out of Capri Suns when we played Illinois, but it still worked out. I’m just kind of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), so I have to do everything the same way, but if we play badly I don’t blame it on my routine.”
While Hoye knows changes in her habits do not impact how the team plays, she sees the benefit in having a ritual. In the same way some many athletes listen to music, this routine helps her focus.
“I do the same thing every time and it gets my mind ready,” said Hoye. “It’s like my serving routine, I do the same thing every time. I’m so accustomed to doing it that it signifies game time.”
Although the team initially did not believe Hoye when she told them about her routine last summer, they now accept it. They, like her family, love her just the way she is.
“No one believed me,” said Hoye. “They thought I was joking. Then I did the same thing every game and they realized I was telling the truth. At first they laughed, but now I just do it by myself and it’s normal. Like my family, they don’t say anything about it. They know it’s just who I am.”
The Hawkeyes face Rutgers today in Piscataway, New Jersey. Match time is set for 6 p.m. (CT).