Fockey Fuel

A look into what I eat during preseason


Photo credit: The Parker Weekly

On August 1, I got a notification from my GroupMe app. This app exclusively activates during sports seasons at Parker. So I know this means one thing, and one thing only. Preseason is coming. And soon. 

For anyone who has experienced it, the words “field hockey preseason” trigger some scary sights and memories. I first think of that one time I walked three blocks bent into a 90º shape due to severe back pain. Then I see my friend waddling down the stairs, yelping in pain. Then I remember running endless laps around the field accompanied by the occasional pile of vomit. 

Eventually, I remembered that plenty of good parts accompany the less favorable aspects of preseason. Most of the good parts I’m referring to fall between noon and 3 p.m. These hours are well loved and better known as our lunch break.

When we have two practices a day, deciding where to eat lunch is no walk in the park. My friends and I took this decision seriously, as it largely affected the way we felt during the afternoon practice. 

We have two-a-days ten times total, leaving us ten opportunities to crack the code and find the perfect preseason lunch. 

Before I go through our successful and not-so-successful lunches, I want to expand on what I’m looking for in the perfect preseason lunch. First off, I don’t want to travel to Narnia and back. I need to eat then be able to savor my precious free time. No rushing involved. Next, the lunch spot must have comfortable seating. Especially during the first week, my body is in peak discomfort at all times. Adding to that discomfort takes away all possibility of an enjoyable lunch. I must add that I HATE cold restaurants. However, I will not include this in the criteria. Most people enjoy the air conditioning after three hours of sweating under the sun, and I do. Don’t get me wrong. But I also hate being cold, so I just wanted to put that out there. 

Anyways, this last piece of criteria is the most important, so read carefully. Picture yourself eating three gallons of ice cream, two cakes, and a lollipop for good measure. Immediately after eating, you run a marathon. That wouldn’t feel very good, so focus on that feeling. Do you have it in your head? Okay. That feeling. That’s the one I don’t want to feel when I run my warmup laps. 

Throughout those ten days, my friends and I got lunch from Sweetgreen, Real Good, Chipotle, Aloha Poke, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, The Hen of Lincoln Park (previously known as Stray Hen), and our respective homes. I was absent when my friends ate from Tropical Smoothie Cafe and Stray Hen, so out of fairness, I will not include those in my evaluation. However, I will note that I tried to eat food from Tropical Smoothie Cafe during last year’s preseason, and they were severely lacking in gluten free options. Sure, I could get a smoothie, but that’s more of a snack. As for Stray Hen, I have pretty neutral feelings. It’s one of those restaurants where you can find yourself choosing between an omelet and a cheeseburger. This works for preseason, but it is a place you have to sit down, order, and wait around a lot. As we’ve established, I’m not into that. I like to make it snappy. 

The worst decision we made over the first ten days was eating Chipotle during our lunch break. For me, Chipotle never disappoints… or so I thought. I was pleased with my dining choices until I was around thirty seconds into my two warm-up laps. My regret returned as I was doing a 15 minute HIIT run, and once again as I was crossing the field carrying a ball on my stick. We drove to Chipotle, which was convenient, and the seating was mediocre. Those wooden chairs don’t do great things for me, but surprisingly, I don’t mind them too much. Final consensus: Chipotle is good under any circumstance other than preseason. 

Coming in second to last place is Aloha Poke. Aloha Poke is something that my friends and I order pretty often for both lunch and dinner. My order is the same every time, yet somehow, it tastes like a whole new dish each time I order it. And don’t get me started on the avocado. Getting a perfectly ripe, non-brown slice of avocado is like the poke equivalent to winning the lottery. Poke can either be a great option or far below expectation. It’s a gamble, to say the least. 

I discovered my home to be the next best place to eat. It’s comfortable, and I can choose from an array of foods at my house. I made wraps, and… well, mostly wraps. It’s cheap, reliable, and exceptionally tasty. I’m in a phase! What can I say? Nearing the end of this article, there was plenty of debate on whether Sweetgreen or Real Good won first place. Sweetgreen has to be the winner. 

I must admit that Noyo Froyo was almost enough to bring it home for Real Good. It’s so tasty, and when I’m back at Parker running my warm-up laps, I don’t feel it in my stomach the way you would expect to feel ice cream. Its close proximity and outdoor seating are a big plus, however the main event just never cut it. I tried multiple sandwiches, but the gluten-free bread was never big enough to fill me up. The one time I tried to order a bagel, they were out of cream cheese. Aside from that issue, Real Good is a great option for any preseason athlete.

If Real Good gets a 9/10, Sweetgreen gets a 9.1/10. There are so many different combinations on the menu to choose from, and I never feel gross while running after eating it. Before this season, I always got the crispy rice bowl, but I experimented with the miso sesame ginger dressing, and it’s a new favorite. While Sweetgreen isn’t the closest to school, the fun car ride makes up for it. 

While I may never again have two field hockey practices in one day, I am hopeful that this evaluation will help guide someone who will to find their perfect lunch rotation. I know I’m thankful that I found mine. Most of all, though, I’m thankful that I can go back to eating Chipotle for lunch.