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What music motivates Chicago athletes?


If you’ve ever attended a sporting event in Chicago, you’re probably familiar with each team’s anthem.

There are cubs Steve Goodman jamYou have the White Sox “Sweet Home Chicago” Blackhawks have “Chelsea Dagger” and the sky has the Chicago classic “Percolator” — Okay, Sky didn’t really own this song, but they should. We are all familiar with the sounds of our favorite teams winning.

For many people, music is critical to setting the mood or getting them out of it. It’s me, I’m the people. But over the course of 2023, I learned that many Chicago athletes were, too. When the time and atmosphere of the conversation allowed, I repeatedly asked my interviewees what they were listening to or what music motivated them.

When talking to people like Sky attendant Dana EvansOhio State wide receiver and Heisman finalist Marvin Harrison Jr. and old Simeon stars Malik Elzy And Aneesah MorrowI learned that some athletes listen to slower music before a match to stay calm and not raise their voices too much. Some people really love Rod Wave; This surprised me considering how downtempo his music is. DJs like Jay Funk and Jay iLLA Those who spend their time rocking venues shared that they also prefer to listen to R&B when they are not working.

Illini’s best linebacker Johnny Newton He got the most surprising response when he shared that he starts every match day with Disney music.

Everyone perked up when asked about their musical preferences. This was something different from the expected conversation and something that didn’t require them to think too hard. Still, they all paused thoughtfully to consider the question; They were probably wondering not only what music they wanted to represent themselves in, but also how I would evaluate what they had come up with. Music is both a personal and shared experience, and in those moments it felt like a window to the person. Sometimes I agreed with their tastes, sometimes I asked follow-up questions because their answers surprised me.

As the list in my notebook grew, I realized I had the makings of a mixtape. I know people don’t really do these things anymore. The days of creating a playlist, burning a CD, and writing on it with Sharpie are long gone, but sharing music is still a language of love.

If you’ve ever wondered what local athletes and jocks are listening to, there’s a playlist for that. In the list below you will find the names of the people I spoke to and the songs, artists and genres they shared with me.

If I wasn’t given a specific artist and song to create the playlist, I chose a song from the artists listed. A few of the songs are from stories I wrote that I talked about during the interview. As a true child of the 90s, I ended the setlist the only way I knew how, with a gospel song the way God intended. New Sky head coach and WNBA legend Teresa Weatherspoon He told me he sometimes blasts the gospel in the gym.

If I were an elite athlete, I would listen to a lot of rap before matches. I often find myself listening to all kinds of music when I write, but I always start with rap and end with soul and R&B. Exciting at the beginning, calm and introverted at the end. Sometimes I wonder if my song choice affects my writing pace.

Music plays an important role in our daily lives, it’s nice to know what the people we watch and listen to enjoy.

Click here to see the full list on Spotify.


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