After a stressful day of classes, a restless bus ride,and a soccer game for good measure, junior midfielder Jake Martin just wants to eat.
“I’ll admit it,” Martin said. “I’ve been known to sprint off the bus to get to the front of the line at restaurants for post-game meals.”
“I’m not above playfully pushing my friends out of the way,” he continues. “I’m usually starving, and I could use a cheeseburger or six,” he says with a sly smile.
Rewind to earlier in the day. The men’s soccer team is set to depart for Bluffton University at noon. Martin realizes its in his best interest to pick up lunch at the union beforehand or his stomach will be growling. Pre-game meals will likely include small sandwiches or chicken Caesar salads prepared by Chartwells food services along with chips and bananas.
“In my opinion, the quality of food is pretty good, but sometimes I wish the portions are a bit larger,” said Martin. “Either way, I don’t risk anything. You better believe my bag is packed full of snacks and drinks before we leave.”
After the Bluffton victory, Martin found himself sitting with the rest of the team, enjoying a celebratory Wendy’s meal.
“As athletes, you might expect something healthier than fast food after games,” he said. “But I don’t think you’ll find any of us complaining!”
Martin’s experiences are very similar to the experiences of other athletes on Manchester sports teams.
“The meals usually consist of a small sub sandwich, a bag of pretzels, and normally a banana,” said senior offensive lineman Brady Nyland. “Post-game is normally something pretty dense from a restaurant near where we’re playing, something like a box of pizza, KFC, or Penn Station.”
Although it’s not always gourmet food on the menu for Manchester athletes, junior defender and two-year captain Matthew Roop, notes that the athletes can be treated to special meals occasionally.
“Last year we spent a weekend in Chicago,” Roop said. “After eating a delicious meal prepared for us by Josh Gonzalez’s family, at the time a freshman striker on the team, Coach Bruggeman took the team to a local, sit-down pizza restaurant the following day.”
“It wasn’t your average meal with the team,” continued Roop. “I think all the fellas really enjoyed the special occasion. Whenever I think of the Chicago trip, I think less about the two soccer games we played, and more about the bonding we did as a team. That includes unusual occurrences,such as meals with my teammates.”
Nyland, echoing Roop’s thoughts, noted the memories behind the meals are more memorable than the meals themselves.
“The best experience of a post-game meal would have to be when we got Buffalo Wild Wings my sophomore yearafter a victory against Anderson University. The food was great, but the win was way sweeter.”
Meanwhile, Martin understands that not every meal will make him reminisce about the good times spent with teammates since his “competitive, hungry spirit” tends to reappear once the team arrives at restaurants.
“If I finish my meal quickly enough, sometimes I’m able to go get seconds!” said Martin