Lions' pre-game preparations vary
Players discuss food, drink, rituals and luck
KANSAS CITY, Missouri -- If one is looking for a successful formula to become a great public speaker, do not forget one of the most important ingredients. The recipe for speech-making must include plenty of 'shortening.'
As for how athletes prepare for performances, familiar methods are common.
On Thursday night, during a team meal in nearby Shawnee (a suburb of Kansas City), the men’s basketball team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University shared some essentials they make pre-game priorities.
While on the road at the 32-team national championship tournament of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), Head Coach Donnie Bostwick’s team models the creeds of discipline.
The team eats very healthy; drinks plenty of water, get proper rest and invest time in both practice and prayer.
Players have held team practices at a local university and at Manual Tech, where James Sanders, a former Athletic Director at Texas College is on staff.
They have also made visits for recharging at the International House of Prayer in nearby Grandview, Mo., where worship and prayer comprise the menu 24-7.
Here are the results of a dinnertime survey of individual player pre-game modes.
What kind of food or drink are part of your regular ritual in preparing for a game?
Emmanuel Adoyi: Always eat plenty of rice and drink water.
Nathaniel Ward: PB & J sandwiches.
James Ford: Turkey breast sandwich.
Clayton O’Neill: Plenty of water.
Adam Martinez: I eat sandwiches, cereal, granola bars and fruit. And Starbursts.
Mike Nwelue: I drink strictly water and eat something healthy, usually from Subway.
Ben Starks: Soup and a sandwich.
Reid Brunner: Peanut Butter sandwiches and water.
Justas Norvilas: Water.
Jonathan Walter: Gatorade and water.
Tyler Guidry: Water.
Dominique Rambo: Intentionally, lots of water.
Bryan Alford: I strictly drink Gatorade Prime.
Mo Oglesby: I always drink a Snapple before a game.
Caleb Gentry: Lots of water and pasta and fruit.
Items you do NOT eat or drink prior to a game?
Norvilas: I never eat junk food, period. The same goes for soda, juice or sweet tea.
Adoyi: Nothing sweet.
Ward: Everything greasy I avoid.
Gentry: Candy, pizza and never drink soda.
Oglesby: I usually don’t eat anything near game time.
Nwelue: McDonald’s menu.
Guidry: No soda.
O’Neill: Anything with sugar.
Ford: Fatty foods.
Martinez: Café food.
Walter: No soft drinks.
Rambo: No soda.
Brunner: Candy and drink with high sugar.
What are things you do before games as preparation?
Nwelue: Lots of sleep, stay hydrated, read my daily devotion again, and most importantly, to pray for strength.
Gentry: Prayer and one-on-one ball drills before every game.
Ford: I get sleep, listen to music, read, study and pray.
Walter: I make my first shot when I enter the gym, usually a layup.
Guidry: Prayer and meditation.
Norvilas: I dribble in the locker room as much as I can. It helps me to warm up and to feel the ball better. Plus, I try to stretch with Ben, Caleb, and Duce.
Oglesby: I listen to LeCrae (James, Christian musician) in the background and pray for strength.
Adoyi: I pray not because I have a game, but because prayer has been my basic fundamental. I also try to rest a lot.
O’Neill: Lift weights and hang out with my girlfriend.
Rambo: Music, reading and prayer.
Ward: I enjoy listening to music on my phone.
Starks: A pre-game nap along with the music of Eddie James, like “Holy Visitation.”
Martinez: I read, listen to worship music and nap.
Alford: I listen to music and try to doze off.
Brunner: I like to lift weights and sleep.
What are things you do or wear that you believe bring luck or favor?
Ford: I seek God in prayer for strength.
Ward: I make every effort to talk to my mom. And pray.
Rambo: Pray. I always pray.
Alford: I never play without (wearing) my ‘prayer fish.’ Plus, I have a ritual in the way I put on my socks and shoes. It’s just psychological.
Brunner: Left sock, right sock. Left shoe, right shoe.
Norvilas: Nothing is lucky. All we do results from hard work, believing in God and trusting in others.
Adoyi: Nothing but God. With Him – all things are possible. I listen to music as well. It motivates me to play hard. It reminds me where I came from, to play through God, and to play for my family and my country.
O’Neill: I always do push-ups and make certain that my first shot in warm-ups is a behind-the-back layup.
Nwelue: Nothing. I don’t rely on luck. I rely on God. Prayer helps me get focused on the task at hand.
Guidry: I already have God’s favor and luck.
Starks: Sometimes I slip into chapel and pray during the women’s game.
Walter: Pray and talk to Dr. (David) Leatherberry (team chaplain).
Gentry: Always pat on some Icy-Hot and give everyone a High 5. Plus, I pray and spend time thanking God.
Evidently, this team is thirsty for water, for God’s strength, enjoys sawing logs and, when they have a collective hot hand; it is a result of a prank, not practice. :)
Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at
or at 469-658-2847.