Two Teachers Writing hosted a writing challenge called Slice of Life sometime in the past, and today I’ve used one of their prompts. Slice of Life is about displaying a short section of one’s daily experience, whether it be in a poem, short story, or style of your choice. So let me take you to the first hour of every Sunday:
A Reader’s Guide To: Game Day Morning
Folded kit, cleats and snacks form a small circle around my backpack. Like some sort of cult gathering, they listen closely to the instructions from their master late into the night, patiently waiting to be called to duty in the morning. Cleats first, always. Shoulder pads second. A mix n’ match of spandex, sports bras, t-shirt, sweater and jeans follow, with a book, small snacks and water bottle squished into the top. If any one gets out of line, the day is sure to go downhill quickly. It all starts with a properly packed bag.
Someone close to me once told me that she literally jumped out of bed on game days, a way to kickstart the day. A message to your brain: Hey! It’s time to get catch up with your muscles, they’ve already leapt out of bed, what the heck are you doing? Since then, I’ve followed suit. Throw back the covers, shake off the night’s rest, take a look outside your window, crack it open to feel the autumn air, and take it all in. It’s game day. If you don’t rally your body at the moment it stirs in the morning, it may never happen.
The next part is simple, but essential:
– Put on deodorant. Brush your teeth. It’s never fun to start the game smelling like you’ve already played.
– Save the hair styling for later. Specifically the last thing before you put on all your gear before warmup. Nothing can ruin a match quicker than damn hair in your face the whole time. There’s only one way for every hair style, so when you find the right hair-do, do it over and over again.
– Golden rule for appearance on game day: Look good, feel good, play good (spoken by that same wise friend). Besides the poor grammar, this saying rings true. If you step onto the field and you wished you’d worn the longer spandex, or your more supportive sports bra, or your teeth feel fuzzy from last night’s open mouth deep sleep, that’s all you’ll think about for 80 minutes.
Food, obviously, is important. Never, ever skip this part. You don’t want to get a rumbling stomach at half time, it makes bouncing back from that last tackle a real hardship. Ultimately your first meal’s content is up to you, but avoid breakfast meats. If we’re being honest (which I thought we were), breakfast meat will do nothing for you and your playing besides make pre-game poos a little earlier than usual. Often sitting heavy in your stomach, this is exactly how you want to feel before you are asked to perform athletically. Apples, toast, one egg, yogurt are regularities, maybe even oatmeal if you are up for it.
Whatever you fancy, sit down to eat. Set yourself a seat at the table and slowly work through your food. Process the day ahead of you. What you hope to achieve, what you’ll avoid. Even with small bites alternating with sips of water, this will only take 10 minutes. Take your time to enjoy the peace before the chaos of sport.