“It’s kind of a big deal when we turn on the switch,” Bobcats senior Patrick Gough said. “We’re usually relaxed before the game while we’re warming up, but then the moment we get on the field and start doing our actual warm-ups on the field, we turn on the switch and the whole mentality of the team switches from switched off to switched on. You hear the chant from the sideline, ‘the switch is on, the switch is on.’ ”
Although their spotless record doesn’t show it, the Bobcats (11-0, 8-0 AAA Cedar Run) battled slow starts and low energy early in games for much of the season. As a remedy, Battlefield Coach Kevin Marsh introduced the intensity switch to his team after its April 11 win over Stonewall Jackson as a way of helping his laid-back team know when it was time to get serious.
Marsh wasn’t sure initially whether or not his team would take to it, but it was apparent almost immediately that the Bobcats liked the switch. Since its introduction April 15 against Patriot, the switch has been at every Battlefield practice and game. It now lives in a stand assembled by Gough and fellow senior Cameron Maples, both of whom hope to study engineering in college.
“We’ve definitely kind of taken to it. It’s just one of those hinky mind-set games that we play, but it seemed to work the last few games we played,” Gough said. “It’s a mind-set, that the switch is on.”
The switch is the brainchild of Marsh, the Bobcats’ coach, his brother Brian Marsh, an assistant coach at Battlefield, and assistant coach David Suthers, who played for the Marsh brothers when they coached at Osbourn Park. The original intensity switch was invented by Kevin’s players at Osbourn Park, who found an old switch and repurposed the piece of electrical equipment.
Kevin introduced the switch to his team midseason at the urging of his brother and Suthers, who thought it might be just what the Bobcats needed to jump-start their performances early in games. By making Baddley, the only freshman on varsity, responsible for flipping the switch ahead of each game, the hope is that the ritual will grow into a long-term Battlefield tradition.
“I pulled it out and they just went ballistic and from there, they have taken it on,” Kevin said. “It’s fun and it’s a good time but also, it’s kind of working in that it’s acting as that kind of trigger to tell them ‘okay, we’re playing now. We’re kind of being joking and lighthearted throwing this switch, but this is our signal. Let’s go.’”
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