Unfortunately for athletes everywhere (and the guys at BALCO …) there is no magic formula for creating a champion. Certainly the traditional “blood, sweat and tears,” goes into it somewhere, and I guess a relentless work ethic probably helps. Talent’s obviously a must, and that whole undying-belief-in-yourself, never-giving-up thing can’t hurt. Clear eyes, full heart — all important. But putting clichés (and reverence) aside, I think we all know what the three most indispensable ingredients to the championship recipe are: cool uniforms, strict adherence to superstitions and carefully selected warm-up music.
Sadly, I don’t have enough space to outline my views on what championship attire consists of — although I will say the color crimson is generally one to avoid. I also won’t bore you with the widely-read-and-implemented Chelsea Janes Guide to Sports Superstition (Rule No. 1: Never EVER step on the foul line), of which Beinecke has a first edition on display as we speak. I will, however, use this opportunity to educate you on what a championship pre-game mix consists of, using examples from our very own Yale teams over the past calendar year. The views expressed here are mine alone — but they’re right.
The first and most basic rule of warm-up CDs is that they must reflect the character of the team they are meant to inspire. In that vein, it would be wholly unacceptable for the football team to feature the Spice Girls, S Club 7 or Mariah Carey on their warm-up CD, while these groups may mesh well on those of some of the women’s teams.
(NOTE: The lone exception to that rule would be Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas,” which, because of its pure shock value to opponents and its general amazingness, is always an acceptable addition.)
Similarly, “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor,” while an unquestionably valuable motivator for a sport like football or hockey, might be a little out of place on, say, a fencing warm-up. …
Once you’ve eliminated any such outliers, there are certain “distributional requirements,” if you will, which must be fulfilled in the course of a championship mix.
First, there has to be a sports-relatable power ballad. You know, those sometimes slow, totally epic songs that remind you that you’re a hero and destined for greatness. Examples currently featured on Yale warm-ups include Nicki Minaj’s “Fly” (women’s soccer), “Edge of Glory,” (volleyball) and Swedish House Mafia’s epic “Save the World,” (men’s soccer).
Second, you’ll need one of those “ignore-the-haters-or-other-people-who-may-criticize-us” tunes: Nelly’s “Heart of a Champion” (field hockey), Nickelback’s “Animals” (men’s hockey 2010) or “Love Like Woe” (Yale softball, spring 2011).
The next component is the mandatory, sport-specific song. See: “Wavin’ Flag” (men’s soccer 2010) and “Shots” (volleyball — always). Follow that up with the super-high-energy current pop hit (“Club Can’t Handle Me,” “Firework,” etc.), a classic throwback (Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams” — field hockey ’10, Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” — softball ’11, Springsteen’s “Born to Run” — current women’s soccer) and one “I’m-the-Man” song (“Right Above It” — men’s basketball, “Magic” — women’s hockey).
Throw in some Eminem, add Lupe Fiasco’s “Show Goes On,” hit up some AC/DC, chuck in a rando or two (“Teach Me How to Dougie,” maybe “MMMBop”?) and you are well on your way to a championship caliber pre-game auditory experience.
Now I know what you’re thinking: either a) Why didn’t I think of putting “Love Like Woe” on a warm-up CD? or b) How does this apply to the average person’s every day life? The answer is simple. Champions do not only exist on the field or in Yale varsity locker rooms. Whether seeking success in the classroom, practice room or IM Ping-Pong, we can all benefit from this infallible champion-building blueprint. So whether you’re making the Yale bowling 2011-’12 warm-up CD, or your “they-really-aren’t-midterms-if-I-have-four-of-them” playlist, take these musical guidelines to heart, avoid foul lines and never EVER wear anything crimson: If you do, there’s no way you can lose.
Chelsea Janes is a senior in Pierson College.