May 20, 2003
Albany- It may just look like Westover senior Elliott Hooper is putting his socks on, but this simple task is actually an exact science. "You try to keep the same socks. Put everything on the left side first, tie it a certain way, do everything a certain way," the senior forward said.
But Hooper's ritual is not as simple as putting on the left sock before the right, in fact it runs much deeper than that. "Changing your jersey at a certain time, wearing the same thing or shirt under your warm-up top. (Putting on your) Shin guards the same way, socks the same way, shoes the same way."
And Hooper's not the only one who's become a creature of habit. "Our first two rounds I had it (my beard) growing and we had done pretty good, so I said 'I'm not shaving.' And then we came out with a shootout win so as of right now I'm not touching any of it," senior goalkeeper Philip Marley said of his beard.
But the Patriots superstitions go beyond growing a beard or getting dressed the same way before every game. They also must make sure that their new, adopted mascot is on the sidelines rooting or barking them on. "I brought her to a match, she came over sat on the bench with us, we won. Then I took her to another match, we won. Next thing you know I'm taking her on the bus with us, sneaking her into Dublin, I snuck her into LaGrange," Patriots head coach Vonnie McClung said.
Coach McClung's miniature schnauzer Mattie provides not only good luck for the Patriots but also a good attitude. "It's nice to know she's always happy, regardless of the situation. Even if you're playing bad she's going to lick you," Hooper said.
Tonight, this quirkie bunch hopes Mattie won't have to doll out any sympathy kisses as the Patriots take on Lovett in the AAA semifinal game.
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