Nutrition is an essential part of every athlete’s preparation before a game. A good meal can make the difference between a good performance and a bad one. If an athlete eats or drinks the wrong thing before a game it can seriously impact their performance.
As a beer league goaltender, my pre-game meal usually consists of a blue Gatorade and a chocolate bar —not the healthiest of options, but it gives me a nice rush I can take out to the ice. If it’s a special occasion buffalo wing might be added to my pre-game meal.
But for varsity athletes, a good and sustainable pre-game meal is a must.
Lacrosse player Ashcon Dawoudi exemplifies this with his preferred pre-game meal: a chicken breast with rice and broccoli, with juice and berries on the side for some sugar.
Owen Falkenham is a lightweight rower and it’s imperative for him to have a light breakfast in order to pass the morning weigh-in before a race. Falkenham eats a jar of oats that he mixes with milk, brown sugar, granola, and berries. If he gets a weight allowance for the race, Falkenham digs into a dish of lasagna with a side of Ceasar salad, garlic bread, and chocolate milk.
Fahlkenham’s teammate Emma Dressler is also a fan of oats before a race.
“Usually I don’t have a lot of time to digest before racing after weigh-ins, so I have Gatorade and a slice of banana bread,” Dressler said in a message to the Fulcrum. “But if I have a few hours then I usually have oats cooked in soy milk topped with ground pumpkin seeds and brown sugar.”
Holly Hicks, a mid-distance runner on the track and field team, is also a lover of oats and opts for a bowl of oatmeal with chia seeds, cocoa powder, dates and chocolate chips before a race.
Others, however, seem to crave heavier meals before races or games.
Baseball player Ben Dodek’s pre-game meal is very superstitious. Before every game, he eats cottage cheese and fried chicken — an option some may see as quite unhealthy but to each their own.
For Yacine Amalou, a member of the men’s volleyball team, the go-to pre-game meal is fish, white rice, broccoli, and salad. But on the nights before games on the road, Amalou loves getting some East Side Mario’s.
The captain of the men’s hockey team, Quinn O’Brien, also likes fish before a game, especially haddock before every home game.
“I like it because it’s light but filling at the same time,” he said in a message to the Fulcrum. “I have it before every home game with a side of pasta, rice or potatoes. Been eating fish before home games since midget.”
Alexe Drouin, a forward on the women’s hockey team, usually goes for an omelette, Nutella on toast, and a big glass of water for breakfast since most of her games are in the afternoon.
Another athlete who has to adjust her breakfast since her games are in the afternoon is women’s soccer player Hailey Walsh.
“Since our games are midday my go-to pregame breakfast is usually a homemade breakfast sandwich — egg and ham on a bagel, and a mixed berry smoothie,” Walsh said in a message to the Fulcrum.
Men’s rugby team rookie Conrad Hladik’s pre-game meal is also dependent on the time his team takes the field.
“If it’s an afternoon game usually a big brunch of eggs, toast, and coffee,” Hladik said in a message to the Fulcrum. “If it’s a late-game I like to have a wrap, Subway makes good ones too if we’re on the road.”
Donald Shaw of the football team has his own routine. He wakes up at 8:30 a.m. on the morning of games. He then proceeds to cook himself three scrambled eggs with three strips of bacon, a slice of toast with Nutella and a bowl of raspberries. After a cold glass of milk and a coffee, he’s off to Gee-Gees Field for kickoff.
For other athletes, the meal may change from game to game but coffee is a mainstay. This is the case for Nieve Seguin of the women’s volleyball team.
“Always a coffee but the meal depends, right now I’m eating a pesto chicken sandwich before our game at the University of Laval making sure I have some protein in there and drinking lots of water,” Seguin said in a message to the Fulcrum.
Tori Wyman is also big into coffee and will be dependent on her dark roast as she hits the field this week in the women’s rugby USports championships.
“I usually have a bagel egg sandwich, a Greek yogurt parfait, and coffee,” she said in a message to the Fulcrum.
For the women’s basketball team, pre-game meals are a team affair. According to Melian De Lulio, her team goes for brunch at Fathers and Son’s before a home game. She usually gets the breakfast special (sunny side up eggs, rye toast, home fries, and bacon). Who wouldn’t?