Tigers’ tunes vary greatly by sport
While the baseball team is warming up before a game, Clarke Field could easily be mistaken for any diamond in the South. The midday sun is shining, the mosquitoes are gnawing and Tim McGraw is blaring over the loudspeakers. But a trip across Washington Road to Sherrerd Field at 1952 Stadium, where the men’s lacrosse team warms up to a pregame mix of Quintino and Swedish House Mafia, presents an entirely different atmosphere.
The different types of music that Princeton’s varsity teams listen to while warming up reflect both the nature of each sport and the personality of each team. In general, though, most men’s teams delegate control of the playlist to a specific individual, thus allowing one style of music to dominate, while women’s teams tend to favor more eclectic mixes. Here’s a look at seven spring sports teams and what types of music they listen to before games.
Besides an occasional propensity for Bruce Springsteen’s brand of heartland rock, the baseball team listens almost exclusively to country music between innings and while warming up before games. According to junior outfielder Johnny Mishu, a lot of the players grew up in the South where country music is really popular.
“I’m a Nashville boy, so I can never get enough of it,” Mishu said.
Mishu acknowledged that some players on the team would rather listen to “anything but country” but noted that junior infielder Alex Flink and assistant coach Hank Coogan make sure that Zac Brown Band, Tim McGraw and the like dominate the playlist.
But the team’s taste for country runs deeper than the players’ regional music preferences, according to Mishu. The team often plays back-to-back doubleheaders on Saturdays and Sundays, and country music helps the team stay level-headed. While other sports prefer music that gets the players pumped, Mishu said his team cannot afford to get too amped up.
“It’s a marathon,” Mishu said. “The games are going to be long and drawn out, so you have to be loose and have fun at [the] ballpark, and country gets you into that mode.”
According to junior outfielder Lizzie Pierce, the seniors traditionally get to choose the warm-up playlist as a privilege. But she noted that this year especially they have asked for suggestions, and almost every player on the team has a song on the list.
As a result, they listen to an eclectic mix of country, rap and other types of music. Because the coaches get to choose songs too, Pierce said some older songs, like Rick Springfield’s "Jessie’s Girl," make the list. As a tradition, the playlist always ends with "Space Jam."
“This year is the best year,” Pierce said, noting that in the past, people had complained that the list featured too much country or too much rap.
Pierce added that while getting ready in the locker room, the playlist is more heavily tilted toward rap, R&B and "Call Me Maybe."
The men’s lacrosse team’s mix of primarily house and electronic balanced by rap and rock helps them get pumped up before games, but balances that with the dose of relaxation the players will need to “take the game in stride,” according to senior defenseman and unofficial team DJ Jonathan Meyers.
“It starts in the locker room, and there’s a noticeable difference when people turn the music on,” Meyers said. “Playing and being focused is one thing, but music helps us keep the energy level up and make sure everyone’s in the right spirits.”
Meyers said that some of the music the team listens to in the locker room — especially Azealia Banks’s "212" — cannot be played over the stadium loudspeakers due to its lyrical content.
Instead, the team listens to a playlist compiled by Meyers — who is a producer of both mashups and original music — that consists of anything from MGMT to Led Zeppelin to a mashup of different versions of Avicii’s "Levels" produced by Meyers himself.
Meyers said it helps that the mix is fairly consistent with what the players like to listen to on their own time or when hanging out together. The team debuted a new version of the mix before Saturday’s 21-6 rout of Dartmouth, and is accordingly likely to stick with it for the time being.
While getting ready in the locker room, the women's lacrosse team listens to songs from Glee episodes and Disney movies in addition to “your typical rap or pump-up music,” according to sophomore midfielder Sarah Lloyd.
Once they begin warming up, they listen to a mix that always begins with the sound of a tiger roaring and includes a lot of rap and Beyonce songs. While Lloyd described it as “a little bit of everything,” she said the mix gets the team pumped and ready to play. The songs are primarily selected by junior attack Sam Ellis, but the rest of the team seems to enjoy the mix.
“Our music really just helps us relax and remind us that our sport is fun, and our team loves to dance,” Lloyd said in an email. “It helps put me in the right mood and mindset to play and has the perfect mix of calming you down and getting you ready to go.”
The men’s tennis team likes to scream. The players scream after they win sets. They scream after they win games. They sometimes even scream after their opponent double faults. But they especially like to scream before games, and they listen to a blend of house, electronic and trance that makes them want to scream.
“We get really energized and psych everyone out with our energy,” freshman Ben Quazzo said. “We pride ourselves on our intimidation before matches — lots of screaming and yelling — and that music facilitates that kind of behavior.”
The seniors put together the playlist during the first couple matches, but Quazzo said there was widespread dissatisfaction so music responsibilities were handed over to him and the other freshmen.
Now, while warming up for matches, the team primarily listens to Deadmau5, Avicii and Swedish House Mafia — particularly selections from the full set of Swedish House Mafia's December show at Madison Square Garden.
According to senior Hilary Bartlett, the captains and the older players on the women's tennis team generally put together the warm-up mix played before each match after receiving two or three suggestions from each player.
Bartlett said the team traditionally opens the playlist with Fort Minor’s classic pump-up song "Remember the Name," and that “Eye of the Tiger” and “Ooh Ahh” generally remain on the playlist year after year.
Possibly due to the coaches’ influence, Bartlett said the playlist has grown more rap-heavy over the past few years, with recent favorites including DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win,” Eminem’s “Not Afraid” and Kanye West’s “Stronger.”
“The team has definitely gotten a little more bad-ass in the four years I've been here,” Bartlett said in an email. “We used to have at least one throaty vocal from Glee, but recently it's been a little more ghetto-fab.”
Women’s Track & Field
Since different events start at different times throughout the track meet, there is no single warm-up playlist, but some members of the team like to listen to their iPods to get themselves pumped up before an event.
“There is likely a wide range of Rihanna, Red Hot Chili Peppers, celtic taps and electronica playing at any given time during a meet,” sophomore Clare Gallagher said in an email, noting that teammates never “sit around a boom box on the infield and jam together” because that would “mess up our personal pre-race/jump/throw routines.”
However, the team often listens to an iPod via speakers in the locker room during practices. While Gallagher said the team is “democratic” and “egalitarian” in that anyone is allowed to plug in an iPod, she noted that it can be removed if the general consensus turns against the kind of music playing — this happened to Gallagher after she tried to play Bela Fleck.
While Gallagher said she suspects that assistant coach Ed Roskiewicz’s suggestion that the team listen to Miley Cyrus’s "The Climb" has been met with varying levels of success, the team is generally pleased when assistant coach Thomas Harrington plays Adele concert videos on bus trips to away meets.
“What better way to get pre-pumped than by setting fire to the rain?” Gallagher said.