Over the past three weeks I was reminded of one of the best sounds in sports — that slap or snap of the ball hitting the leather of a glove. With softball and baseball games going for the five area high schools this summer is a good thing.
That sound brought to mind a column I did a couple of years ago during the winter sports. It all holds true for any season of sports.
Two of my passions are sports and music.
They are connected.
Don’t laugh. Just think about it — music is always going at athletic events, except maybe tennis and golf and the occasional croquet match.
Also music is in us all. The first thing that happens for us as humans is our rhythm begins — our heart begins to beat. What we do with that rhythm is up to each one of us.
Coaches and players always talk of playing with a rhythm. A team didn’t miss a beat when a player is injured and a reserve goes in to the game.
I’ve been closing my eyes at athletic events lately and just listening. The music of a particular sport came through.
At a basketball game, the distinctive sounds of the squeaking of basketball shoes on the hardwood floor, basketballs bouncing and if you listen really hard, there are times you hear that snap when a ball goes through the nylon net.
At a swim meet, there’s the sound of swimmers entering the water on a start of a race. Of course, the splashing and rhythm of each stroke can be heard along with teammates and coaches adding their sounds to the swimming motions.
I was at a bowling meet and you can hear when a bowler glides on his or her approach on the lane. That bounce of the hard bowling ball when it’s released and hits the lane surface for the first time. Listen to the ball rolling down the lane then the crash into the pins, the scattering of the pins.
Wrestling, which is one of my all-time favorite sports because I grew up in the sport, produces a rhythm as two competitors grapple on the mat. There’s a squeak of shoes on the mat. Grunts and groans add to the music of wrestling. And there’s the slap of the official’s hand against the mat for a pin.
Athletes use music — individually — to ramp up for a competition. I’ve noticed at high school baseball and softball games now, the players talk about their individual “walk-up” music when they head to the plate to bat.
Who hasn’t been to a Major League Baseball game without hearing the organ music. Nowadays, they use other music as well but the tried and true organ is still on their sound board.
Sports and music have gone hand-and-hand for years.
It has in my life. I was in the marching bands and basketball pep bands at high school and college. At Kansas State, those bands are more than music makers. They help lead the cheering for teams.
Moving from music to motivation. There are people — coaches and players included — who are strong motivational speakers. They know what to say before a competition or when a team is going through an adverse situation.
I know those types of people. I have several in my life who give me “pep” talks when I’m down. But to be truthful, motivation comes from within.
You have to decide for yourself to do your best for not just yourself but your teammates.
Most athletes compete in a team sport so every little thing affects all involved.
Doing your best, playing your hardest will allow you to shine but more importantly it will allow others to shine.
Music has always been an instrument of motivation for me. Find yours and use it to help your team.
Contact Jocelyn Sheets at firstname.lastname@example.org