When watching a televised sporting event, the cameras often show the athletes walking into their respective locker rooms before the game starts. Each player normally has their own set of headphones, listening to the music that will get them excited and ready for the game.
This is the norm for most athletic teams, especially highly competitive teams at Wheaton College, with the exception of one — the #24 ranked women’s soccer team. Before their must-win game against #16-ranked Hope College on Tuesday, the team’s locker room was completely silent.
Three days prior, the team lost a hard fought game at home to Washington University. However, what’s past is past, and the women were now focused on beating the Flying Dutchman.
This silence wasn’t because of nerves or fatigue from the long bus ride to Holland, Mich. Rather, this silence occurs before every game the women play to help them concentrate. Head coach Pete Felske has adopted this procedure to bring more passion out of the girls on the field.
He explained that music provides an emotional high that is temporary, and though it might help for a short amount of time, it is not as beneficial as the energy and focus that individual and team-wide passion provides. Felske believes that this kind of passion can last an entire game. This philosophy painted an accurate picture of the Hope game as the Thunder walked away victorious by a score of 2-1, handing Hope their first loss of the season.
Junior midfielder Sarah Frey explained the significance of the game saying, “Since this is the team that knocked us out of the tournament last year, there was a little fire under all of us for this game, especially. We knew it would be a great way to bounce back from dropping a couple of big games earlier this season.”
And bounce back they did as the two Wheaton goals came within the first seven minutes of play, a lead that they would not relinquish.
Although there is no music allowed in the locker room, the one exception to this rule is a song that is sung before the team takes the field. The team circles up in the locker room and sings the first verse of the worship song “Sanctuary” twice to keep their eyes focused on God before kickoff.