,Some athletes listen to metal. Some drink a few Red Bulls. Some jump around, thrashing like crazy at nothing in particular.
Josh Anderson listens to jazz.
The pregame ritual is a sacred event to many athletes. Most involve as much adrenaline-pumping as possible, but not for Anderson. The print and multimedia journalism major has found success in lacrosse rooted in an uncommon pattern.
"I like to be pretty calm, listen to jazz before the game," said the sophomore attacker. "I need to be relaxed, quiet. Before the game I don't get pumped up, I just concentrate on the game ahead of me."
The strategy continues to work for Anderson, who has started off the year with tenacity, leading the Lions in goals scored.
Anderson gave his year-best performance on March 28 against Lyndon State College. He was in a frenzy, scoring a career-high seven goals as Emerson pummeled LSC in a 19-8 victory. Scoring early and scoring often, he led the attack by netting his first shot, unassisted, 75 seconds into the game. After each team scored a goal, Anderson responded by scoring four more.
"For me, it's all about momentum, scoring in bunches," he said. "Once I get into a hot streak it's hard for me to cool down. Scoring early gave us a confidence boost. We're a team that plays better with a lead than coming from behind."
Freshman defender Colin Valkenet said he believes Anderson's veteran leadership is invaluable to the team.
"He'll catch almost anything you throw at him and he's got a really accurate shot on the crease," the screenwriting major said. "He'll knock your socks off. He's been playing long enough where he's going to add a lot of experience to the guys who are just coming on attack."
Anderson has an accomplished past in lacrosse that started in sixth grade and continued through high school. The first freshman in his high school's history to ever score a goal at the varsity level, he quickly rose through the ranks and was chosen to play on an All-American team that went to the state championship game three years in a row.
He understands that he could be playing at a higher level, having been recruited by several Division I schools. Like many athletes at Emerson, Anderson compromised with himself, attending a school known more for its connections and job opportunities than its athletic program.
"I turned [the Division I schools] down for the education," he said. "I wanted a mix of sports and learning, but I wanted a job after it's all over more than anything."
After a disappointing season in which the Lions posted a 4-12 record and saw many of their players suspended, Anderson is happy to be winning again. Just six games into the season, the Lions have already matched last year's total.
"I'm playing the game at this point because I love it. It's a rush," Anderson said. "The camaraderie, the teammates I have here are some of the closest friends I have at school. We stick with it for each other."
Anderson believes the key to continuing his personal success lies in getting his teammates involved in the game.
"I have to have faith in my supporting cast," he said. "Just relax, don't worry about the game, and let it come to me. Any success I've had has been a result of the dedication of the people around me. It's the hustle, the hard work of the people on the field that get me the ball. My success is as much a team effort as it is about me."
And to keep listening to that jazz.