Game Day – food & family logistics

For an 80 minute game of rugby, there is an awful lot of palaver that goes on before and after (also during, with all that throwing a ball around and wot not)

Yesterday’s kick off was 2pm, but from 10am until we return home at 6.30pm we are rugby, rugby, rugby. We live in Kingston (London suburban heaven/hell), so Sunday traffic to the stadium in Reading along the M3 and M4 can be horrendous. Particularly if there are roadworks, especially enraging when there is nobody actually working on them. Thousands of cones on a perfectly good road, thousands of cars, and no PEOPLE WORKING!!images

Our aim is to get Dec to the game on time and in a calm state, so we always leave a lot of extra time to get there. Yesterday we left at 11am, and got to the Mad Stad at 12.15. The London Irish squad had a team meeting at 12.30, followed by their warm up on the pitch. Myself, Beth (6), Evie (4) and Conor (1), have to find entertainment for the 2 hours until kick off, so thank goodness for the Digger Club……..there is face painting (amazing!), bouncy castling, and hugs Unknownfrom Digger, the club mascot. Digger is an 8 foot hairy dog dressed in London Irish kit, who kids either love or are completely freaked out by. Conor is of the latter. There’s also live diddly dee music, and when I can avoid the moans children’s requests for food no longer, we head upstairs to the room reserved for players’ families. This is brilliant as the children are ‘confined’ and can tear about the place and eat their packed lunch with out bothering other supporters.

I’ve learnt that I should always go prepared with plenty of food and snacks for the afternoon. It’s a long day from leaving the house, to getting home at  6.30pm, so I seem to spend most of the morning on food preparation. Rather than depending on McDonalds on the way home, I made lentil & tomato sauce (the soup recipe with less stock) and added it to some pasta tubes with some cheese sprinkled on top. I’ll fire that in the microwave for two minutes for dinner when we get through the door after the game.

For Dec, match day food before a game should focus on easily digestible carbohydrate which will fuel the muscles. He starts the morning with a bowl of porridge with banana puree, milk and sugar, a few hours later it’s a bagel with peanut butter and jam, and just before we leave he has a bowl of pasta with a smidge of carbonara sauce. As the game gets closer, high fibre and high fat foods should be kept to a minimum as theses take longer to digest. White foods (pasta, bread, bagels etc.) are perfect for loading up the muscles with carbohydrate to fuel the warm up and game ahead. Here’s some more info on pre-match food

For me and the kids, food for during the game is typical packed lunch fodder.

  • sandwiches: wholemeal bread, tuna & sweetcorn or peanut butter & jam
  • bananas, apples, pears
  • homemade Seriously Healthy Flapjacks
  • yogurts (and spoons, remember the spoons!!)
  • mini packs of Smarties from the Trick or Treat sweetie stash

For the children, the actual rugby game is pretty dull, so they are more than happy to play with their friends and hide under the tables stuffing biscuits from the tea and coffee table in to their gobs (they think I don’t notice, but I do….Mummy sees EVERYTHING). I’m delighted if I can have a cup of coffee with Conor quietly sitting on my lap, but he’s usually intent on trying to fling himself over the seating boundary on to the concrete below. This is probably why I am not the person to ask for any sort of match analysis as I rarely get the chance to focus on the game (that’s my excuse for still being clueless).


Conor: England, Ireland or Arsenal????

We have a fair bit of waiting around after the game. A major part of the recovery process is refuelling and repairing the muscles within an hour of finishing, so the boys sit down to a good balanced meal. Here’s more info on why and how nutrition is used for recovery of the body, ready for the next week of training.

Unfortunately, we lost the game against Northampton 14-19, but it is always fab to catch up with friends and family (2 engagements, 2 pregnancies, and 1 new baby). Bob and Shauna Casey’s little man Ollie came to his first game…….will he be declaring for England or Ireland in twenty years time I wonder? Dec is having this very dilemma with our wee Conor: England, Ireland or the Mighty Arsenal????


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