Education | Sports

Basketball coach from Montana burns sweet grass before game

Larry Krystkowiak on the court. Photo from Utah Utes

Larry Krystkowiak, the men's basketball coach at the University of Utah, grew up near the Blackfeet Nation in Montana and shares a part of that history with his players.

Before every game, Krystkowiak burns a blend of sweet grass, cedar, tobacco and sage that came from the reservation. He hopes it inspires his players to do their best.

“I’m pretty spiritual, so to me it’s the visualization of the smoke going up, a way to carry your prayers,” Krystkowiak told The New York Times. “And I want our guys to find the symbolism with the smell. You don’t smell it anywhere else. It’s the symbolism that this is a special time, and let’s go try to do something special.”

Krystkowiak said he tries not to burn the grass at away games too often because the smoke can set off fire alarms. His team will be on the road for the NCAA tournament this week.

Get the Story:
Utah’s Season Is So Sweet, Even the Lockers Smell Nice (The New York Times 3/17)

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