The words that carry the team.

Before a person walks into a locker room they may expect to see dirty white towels on the floor, Adidas sneakers thrown everywhere and a combination scent of dirty socks and sweat. This is not the case for the Montclair State University Women’s basketball team’s locker room located in the Panzer athletic center. The first thing you notice when walking in the locker room is the black leather couch and big flat screen television placed on the wall. In the back of the room you cannot help but notice a big white board filled with notes and reminders written with different color expo markers. On top of the white board a sign is placed that reads “Success is not final, failure is never fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. We are what we repeatedly do.” The next line reads “Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” The background of the sign is a picture of the team gathered up in a huddle with their hands together in the air. This sign is not just three sentences hanging on the wall, but it is a daily reminder for a lady red hawk on and off the court to give their all.

When explaining the history of the quote, Montclair State University women’s basketball team assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Colleen O’Connell says “a few years ago, one of the girls wanted to say something before the game. Since we are a state institution you cannot pray before the game so Coach Harvey told the girls to come up with a quote. A group of the girls came up with different quotes and put them together into one quote. The quote is two quotes put together. The first sentence is one and the second and third is another quote.” O’ Connell could not help but smile when reminiscing about her first time seeing the quote. She took a suicide sprint down memory lane back to spring 2016 when head Coach Harvey showed her the team’s locker room during her interview when she first laid eyes on the quote. She states that “the quote is a good reminder that you’re supposed to do the little things every single day and if one day you don’t hit your mark, failure is never fatal.”

It will be inaccurate to say that this quote did not keep the girls motivated to play their best game. Freshmen on the team are not expected to memorize the quote but by they here it so much the quote eventually becomes second nature to them. Talented senior on the team, Katie Sire says “when I look at the quote it reminds me to never stop giving up and to never settle where we are as team. Our whole season is about growing every year and becoming better and never giving in and never accepting where we are as a player or program in general.”  Sire with no hesitation said “I think the quote is a very  motivating way to start the game.”  It is no secret the impact that this quote has on these D3 players.

Current senior on the team Taylor Harmon says “ we have so many goals that we want to set for ourselves each year so the quote is just a reminder of what we need to do before and during each game in the aspect of working as a team and keeping our focus during the game.”

It is essential for the team to say this inspiring quote in the locker room before they play their hearts out on the court in front of their fans. Sire says “it feels powerful saying the quote. It’s something about seeing all of us saying the same thing and were all concentrating and taking it serious. It’s a good way to leave our locker room going into warmups before the start of the game making us feel focused.”  O’Donnell agrees that it is a must to say the quote before the game. She states “ Before a game, even as a coach everyone’s super excited but the most important thing is getting everyone on the same page so it’s important that the last thing we do before we walk out the room is say the quote together.” Every team has their own rituals before every game and there is no doubt that that Montclair women’s basketball team has found theirs.

Montclair State | New Jersey

Zahnia James

I am a Middlesex County College graduate who grew up in Edison, New Jersey. After tranferring to Montclair State University I am expected to graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Communication and Media Arts in May.