Modern sport has come a long way in the last few decades. Gone are the days of Babe Ruth guzzling buckets of booze before a game, or Maradona getting up to all sorts of chemical mischief before a crucial World Cup qualifier. Professional athletes are now all about strict diets and sports science. It might be boring, but it gets the job done. For the most part.
At the end of the day, all professional sportsmen and women are human beings. We all have our little vices that we find hard to ignore. It’s in our nature. Take food for example. We now know that complex carbs and plenty of protein should form the cornerstone of an athlete’s diet, helping them maintain energy and continue to perform at the highest level. There isn’t usually much room for fast food.
This context is what makes recent events in an English chicken shop all the more astonishing. Last Sunday, after a victorious thrashing of a rival team, East Midlands-based American football team the Leicester Falcons descended on Pluckd - a local restaurant that sponsored the team. After spanking the Doncaster Mustangs 43-6, spirits were high. A foodie celebration was in order.
It was obvious from the moment that the 50-strong team arrived at the door that this would be no ordinary service for the small eatery. Talking to The Metro newspaper the following day, restaurant director Justin Akpa reported, “We’re a small venue and a small team, so the place was packed out and overflowing onto the street,” before adding that, “We went straight to our battle stations and started banging food out as soon as they walked through the door.” As time would tell, it would not be enough.
In just over an hour, the starving team had worked their way through a whopping 1,000 individual chicken wings, weighing in at a little more than 100 kg of chicken. For all the furious activity in the kitchen, the poor chefs simply couldn’t keep up. 50 starving American football players would prove too much for many more well-staffed and stocked kitchens. At 7:15 PM - one hour and 10 minutes after the team had walked in, the kitchen declared themselves out of wings and closed for the night. For the Falcons, it’s tough to argue which of their two achievements was more impressive.
Despite being forced to close their doors far earlier than they might have anticipated, it wasn’t all bad news for Pluckd. Not only did they manage to flog a serious amount of chicken, but the team were quick to give them a shout out for their hospitality. Posting on Twitter, the Falcons wrote, “Sorry Plukd! Celebrating our 10-0 perfect regular season, we appear to have eaten their entire stock of chicken wings. Truly the best wings in town!” With a sizeable profit, an evening off and a social media shout out, the chicken wing feast seems to have worked out ideally for Pluckd. Maybe all restaurants should consider equally voracious athletic partners.