At the beginning of last basketball season, I knew it would be my last. I really didn't think about it much. I did wonder how different it would be to get up on a Saturday morning without the worry of the preparations of a Saturday afternoon basketball game.
Home or on the road, one of the major issues to resolve was where to eat. They say the sure way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I am here to tell you that the genders in that statement are not correct. The absolute best way to keep a women's basketball team happy, focused and ready to roll is through their stomachs.
Let's forget about Saturdays on the road. Instead, I want to focus on the Saturday morning routine when the game was in Maryville. Last Saturday, I met Chuck Fox, one of my former assistant coaches, for a "double blended" and a muffin at My Favorite Muffin in Maryville.
I'm going to be evaluating a few eating places in Maryville and I can't hide how much I like My Favorite Muffin. A cup of coffee and a Georgia Peach muffin get me through until supper time.
As Chuck and I talked about his undefeated North Andrew girls' team, I couldn't help but think that the Bearcats women's team must be eating a pre-game meal as they got ready to play the University of Nebraska – Kearney.
The best review I can give for the team's favorite pre-game eating place came from Laura Frederich. Laura was a great shooting guard from Shawnee Mission. She played from 2004-2007. When she was a senior, we had an exhibition game with a NCAA III team. I told the team we would pre-game at Hy Vee.
I thought Laura would come out of her shoes. "I couldn't wait until we started pre-gaming at Hy Vee," Laura said, jumping all over the gym. That was even before they made their expansion.
One thing about food and a women's basketball team is you could never go to a place with ethnic cuisine.
No matter how good the restaurant, there was always a player or two who didn't like Mexican food or Chinese food. You could never consider a sushi bar to eat. Uncooked fish would have a lot of haters.
Despite the fact that there are very tasty Mexican and Chinese eateries in Maryville, I can't give you a team evaluation. It was almost always Hy Vee, especially after the expansion. That gave the players a huge choice, even the Chinese food lovers. The only problem was they never had orange chicken, Abby Henry's all-time favorite.
Mandy Schumacker, an All-MIAA post player who played from 2005-2008, had a different favorite. Mandy loved Graves Restaurant at the Sinclair station north of Maryville. Mandy was a strong leader and she could strong-arm the team to sometime abandon their Hy Vee favorite for a little truck-stop breakfast.
Page 2 of 2 - Back then there was a smoking and a non-smoking area and their wasn't much separation. Mandy did have the authority to get her way despite the smoky surroundings.
Going on the road on a Saturday changed the routine. If it was an early departure, the team loved a McDonald's breakfast. It was usually a mad scramble. We would put in 20 or so individual orders. Then the bus would stop at McDonalds on the way out of town and pick up the food.
I never let the players all go in. it was too time consuming and confusing. I let the confusion play out as the assistant coaches and managers tried to get the right food to the right people. You could always count on McDonalds to put in an extra breakfast sandwich or two, along with missing a sandwich or two.
If it was a later departure, we would pre-order at Subway or Mr. Goodcents. My assistant coaches, who took everyone's order, didn't even have to ask me what my order would be.
Subway was a seafood special and the hot cheese sandwich with black olives was my favorite at Mr. Goodcents.
For a treat, I would sometimes order from Countryside Bistro. We held our final couple of year-end banquets at the Bistro. Also, we had our Winstead-Reeves Classic breakfast out there.
No one can cook, especially cinnamon rolls like Ed and Betty at the Bistro.
I have to admit I enjoyed the Saturday morning at My Favorite Muffin without the worry of the coach's Saturday morning routine. I might even eat a meal before the game at Taco John's.