BMHS PrideTime Reporter
Norwalk High vs Brien McMahon, a rivalry that started in 1961, is still persistent 57 years later.
Their games are seen as the biggest and most competitive in town, and in a way, end all the smack talk and determine who’s best. Boys basketball always gets the biggest crowd. It’s a very exciting game to be at and it’s a fun experience. These boys play hard because they know how much this game means to their teammates.
During these games, the gym is very loud which makes it a little hard for the players to focus. Coaches even use hand signals for plays since the players can barely hear. But how do you stay composed with that kind of pressure on you?
“It’s just a mental thing,” says Jahmir Lee (‘19). “I’ve been getting ready for games the same way every time, and that’s just me listening to music and focusing on what I have to do for my team to be successful.”
Jahmir believes that music is the way to go when you need to get your head in the game especially for a game like this.
Eric Miller (‘20), point guard, takes on a different approach when it comes to staying relaxed. He believes that staying focused on yourself is the most helpful technique in controlling nerves. “The thing that keeps me calm during big games is focusing on myself and what I have to do. I can’t think about who’s watching and how big the crowd is, or I’ll psych myself out.”
During these games, it’s difficult to ignore your peers in the stands, cheering you on when you score and getting disappointed when you miss. However, ignoring the prospect of judgement and trash talk is an important skill that players usually obtained through experience. For many, what keeps them from letting their nerves get the best of them is focusing on themselves. Others, on the other hand, prefer to shift their focus to different things.
Shamar Miller (‘20), shooting guard, tends to focus on just enjoying the game. “For me, if I get too serious or think too much, I’ll get nervous and start messing up. I’ve been playing basketball since I was little, and I always saw it as a fun thing and not a stressful thing. And if I keep that mindset, then I’ll stay calm and be able to play my best.”
Each player has his own method of controlling themselves. Whether it be music, focusing on yourself, or just enjoying the game, they always find ways of doing so. A lot of it comes from reinforcement from their teammates as well. If their teammates keep encouraging them, then a lot of stress will go away by itself. It also helps to see their school peers in the stands cheering them on and encouraging them.
The boys’ basketball team’s next game is on Monday, February 12th, against St. Joes. Come and support the team!