What do you find in a Penn athlete's iPod?
Different athletes have different tastes in music, yet all agree that music has its place in sports
October 8, 2013, 6:04 pm · Updated October 9, 2013, 12:29 am·
Sports has always been regarded as one of the highest forms of human drama, and, like any drama worth its salt, it has always functioned hand-in-hand with corresponding musical soundtracks.
Could you even imagine Rocky Balboa conquering the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art without Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now” blasting away in the background?
True, Rocky was fictional. But no matter how corny it may seem, the importance of the relationship between music and sports extends past the movies and into real life.
In fact, many Penn athletes confirm that music plays a crucial role in preparing them for games.
“There’s nothing like music that can get people motivated or, if it’s the wrong music, demotivated,” junior football defensive end Jimmy Wagner said.
“It helps you get zoned in before games, especially if you have a routine,” senior men’s soccer back Jonny Dolezal said. “If you listen to the same music each time, it prepares your mind for the next game.”
However, playing pregame music is not a one-size-fits-all solution for getting ready.
“It’s different for everybody … Some guys like their own personal music, so they put headphones in. Some guys like the loud music that gets everybody going,” senior men’s soccer captain Stephen Baker said.
This sort of musical diversity is strongly apparent throughout the Quakers’ different locker rooms. Some prefer to listen to rap, mainly due to what junior sprint football running back Mike Beamish describes as its “strong lyrics applicable to overcoming adversity.”
However, rap is far from the only thing listened to in the locker room. Wagner and Beamish both noted their fondness for classic rock artists like Led Zeppelin and Bruce Springsteen.
Some athletes even lean towards easier listening. Baker claims to enjoy soft rock like the Goo Goo Dolls, while freshman sprint football quarterback Mike McCurdy prefers Jason Mraz pregame.
“He can’t get too pumped up. He’s a quarterback,” Beamish said.
This musical diversity doesn’t just apply to individuals, though. Each team clearly develops its own musical identity.
The men’s soccer team, for instance, has recently been playing a lot of house music and techno remixes in the locker room. Also, Baker and Kerry Scalora, captains of the Penn men’s and women’s soccer teams, respectively, both have had Drake playing in their mixes recently.
Teammates don’t always have identical musical tastes, though.
“For me, [the team’s preferred music] is all questionable,” Wagner said. “But it’s about getting the team pumped up, not about getting me pumped up.”
Your teammates and your sport will never determine the totality of what is in your iPod, and ultimately, it is players who win games, not their favorite songs.
“[Music] only goes so far. Once you get on the field, there are no headphones in the game,” Beamish said.
“It gets weird sometimes,” senior football defensive back Sebastian Jaskowski said. “I can’t even explain what goes on in the locker room, but it’s usually a fun time.”
“Weird” might be the best way to describe it. From the reckless thrill of a 2 Chainz verse to the tranquil tone of Jason Mraz, music’s effect on athletes can be tough to comprehend.
As spectators, perhaps everyone is better leaving these behind-closed-doors mysteries unsolved and enjoying the results on the field.