It's a Friday, the day before North Carolina's game against Virginia Tech at Kenan Stadium, so there's a strong chance that Ryan Switzer, the Tar Heels senior receiver, will be watching a romantic comedy tonight. This is how he does it on nights before games.
I touched on this fact in a story about Switzer and UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky, and the connection they share. It's finally translating onto the field on game days.
Switzer's night-before-game movie habit, though, warranted some further discussion. So back to the rom-coms.
“Oh, absolutely,” Switzer said earlier this week. “It doesn't matter what. I mean, 'The Vow.' 'Dear John.' I really can't get too worked up the night before a game, or else I won't sleep. So if I watch something that kind of mellows me out, like a romantic comedy, I'm all for it. And I do do that.”
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Two weeks ago, the night before UNC's game against Pitt, Switzer watched something along those lines on television, he said. He can't remember what. Last Friday night, before the Florida State game, it was “Dear John,” which is based on a Nicholas Sparks book.
Switzer pulled out his phone and watched it on there. He keeps some of these movies on his phone.
His teammates, meanwhile, watched movies that might have been more stereotypically associated with football players. Switzer described those films as “probably football movies, something like that.”
He can't do it, though. At least not the night before the game. It's not a superstition as much as it is a trusted routine, a way to clear his mind and reduce the nerves that inevitably arrive when kickoff is less than 24 hours away.
“I'm telling you,” Switzer said, “with my energy level, if I get too worked up, I won't sleep.”
So a nice romantic comedy or sappy drama it is. Something Nicholas Sparks, perhaps. Or maybe a story about a husband standing by his wife after she loses her memory following a car crash. That's what “The Vow” is about, apparently.
There's always “Frozen,” too. That's the animated Disney musical that Switzer says he has watched “countless times,” one that he described early last week as “a great flick.”
“The guys won't get on it,” he said with a laugh. “They've got too much pride for that. I don't have any pride. I'm comfortable in my own skin, you know?”
Switzer didn't mellow out with Frozen last Friday night. That was, after all, a Dear John kind of night.
After the Tar Heels' 37-35 victory at Florida State, though, Switzer went with the old reliable. He said he watched Frozen on the ride home, along with fellow senior receiver Mack Hollins.
“Because I don't like flying,” Switzer said. “So that kind of calmed me down a little bit.”