West Essex sports teams share their traditions


Jordan Cohen

There are a various amount of traditions that West Essex sports team participate in.

Many sports teams participate in rituals to boost morale and keep their spirits up throughout the season. Wearing uniforms on game days, having psych-ups and bonding as a team help athletes feel more comfortable and perform to the best of their abilities. These are commonly used to make a team feel more like a family or community. However, some sports take it a step further. There are superstitions that help each team, and West Essex is no stranger to weird traditions in the name of winning.

WARM FUZZIES: The girls field hockey team is renowned in New Jersey. They consistently take home championships and awards, but not everyone realizes what goes on behind the scenes. While constant team dinners are known and dress-up days are enjoyed by all, many other rituals occur out of the public eye. The space buns present on girls’ heads during games are noticed, but not everyone knows that these space buns are an honor and are only passed down to two people each year. They also need to eat corn dip and taco dip at every psych-up in order to have good luck for each game. When the state tournament arrives, the girls sit on the turf and read “The Warm Fuzzy Tale” by Claude Steiner. Each person picks up a small pom pom to represent the “warm fuzzies” in the story and chooses someone to give theirs to before every game. It represents the sentimental feeling and trust a teammate has in another all wrapped inside of a little ball of fuzz. Another tradition for states is when head Coach Jill Cosse tells a joke behind the cage before the start of every game. 

WATCH YOUR STEP: The girls soccer team is a force to be reckoned with. Taking home the conference title this past fall, WEGS has made a name for themself. However, they fear that stepping on the Knights symbol on the path to the field before a game would sabotage the results. To prevent this, even while walking up in their two neat lines, the girls will separate to avoid jinxing their luck. For over five years, they have been throwing the “conch,” a ball of tape in that which they add to each game. This brings them good spirits and success.

ON THE HUNT: The cheer team demonstrates their school spirit weekly at football games, showing support and getting the rest of the fans involved. In order to be ready for this, they attend camp during their preseason, forcing them to work together and focus on perfecting their skills, teamwork and routines. Annually, the girls on the team compete in a scavenger hunt. They work in teams to finish the most tasks and earn the most points. This brings the team closer together as they embarrass each other in the name of school spirit.

PASTA PARTY: Before Friday night games, the football team also makes a point to have team pasta dinners every Thursday night. This gets them pumped up for their games and as close as ever as a team. They also hit the “Knights” sign on their way out of the locker room before taking the field. These little traditions keep them feeling like a community so they can compete like one.

DRAGON TALES: In addition to supporting the team as a whole with a quote written on the locker room floor before each game, the girls lacrosse team honors individual players who performed especially well during specific games. After every game, the Player of the Game stuffed animal, a two-headed red dragon named Tot is given out, and the player who receives this honor needs to add something to it. The team kicks off their county tournament by also reading “The Warm Fuzzy Tale.”