THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2012
DiScala’s socks one of many superstitions, traditions on men’s lax team
From left, David Goldman, Max Gurowski and Charlie Archer and their facial hair.
From left, David Goldman, Max Gurowski and Charlie Archer and their facial hair.
JU men’s lacrosse goalkeeper Alex DiScala wears the same pair of Nike socks for every game. And there’s no guarantee he’s going to wash them afterward.

DiScala, a senior from Glen Cove, N.Y., is but one of many on the Dolphins’ men’s lacrosse team that has some superstitions and traditions rivaling those put out by a National Hockey League team.

“It depends,’’ DiScala said on Tide meeting Nike after a game. “If we win … no.’’ In addition to the socks, he, like many of his teammates, has an IPod playlist of about 30 songs that will get a workout this season.

While DiScala seems to be going feet first, most of the team is involved in a hairy situation as they won’t be shaving until after their first win of the season. The growth, mostly but not limited to mustaches, started in early training camp so you can imagine the haggard looks that are starting to be.

The team also is looking for a song to play after every win. It will replace last year’s “Nothin’ But a Good Time.’’

More seriously, all the players have an ‘88’ somewhere on their helmets to honor teammate Corey Lovrich, who should be with the Dolphins but is waging a battle against cancer.

“We’re hoping to get stickers for our helmets,’’ captain Cameron Mann said.

While the team is honoring Lovrich, freshman Ari Waffle honors the Indian nation by wearing a dark purple t-shirt every game. It does get washed, thankfully.

“It’s something I started as a freshman in high school,’’ Waffle, who was born in Paraguay and came to JU from Manlius, N.Y., said. “On the front it says ‘Iroquois Confederacy’.’’ He says he can’t do without the shirt now.

The Confederacy is made up of six tribes, the Tuscarora, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca, which live in Canada and New York in the Lake Ontario areas.

Waffle says he feels a strong connection with the Onondaga tribe.

“I have a lot of friends there,’’ he said.

Closer to home, junior David Whelan, from Cary, N.C., admits that much of the team always goes to the same cafeteria to eat before a game, but beyond that he’s not much involved in pregame ritual.

“I try not to think of the game at all,’’ he said.

Which is something Mann can’t say.

The junior midfielder has plenty of superstitions and rituals pregame.

Like many, Mann will tape his stick the same way each time and listens to a pregame song. Last year’s tune was Eminem’s Lose Yourself; this year’s tune hasn’t been named yet.

He raises the bar by always eating a Snickers before a game along with washing it down with a Five Hour Energy Drink.

If that weren’t enough, Mann’s rituals actually start the night before a game when he sleeps with his sticks, all named, next to his bed.

“I used to sleep in the same bed with them,’’ he said.

So far, he has found one stick he will use in games and Nancy is looking for a companion or two.

It’s not that easy.

“They don’t get named,’’ Mann said, “until they prove they can play in a game.’’

- Jim Nasella