There are a lot of things I do not miss about my days as a student-athlete: Getting up at 4 a.m. to prep for shows, raising money by cleaning up after parties in the football stadium’s skyboxes on Sunday mornings, practice in hundred-degree heat and frigid sloppy rain, running suicides. But there is one thing I miss desperately: Free chocolate milk.
Fresno State put a milk locker in the athletes’ gym back in 2007, I think. It came about after someone did research that showed that drinking chocolate milk after weightlifting promoted faster muscle recovery. They mostly intended it for the football players (like they intended everything), but they couldn’t discriminate. So three days a week after workouts, the equestrian team would straggle toward the fridge. I usually got plain ol’ milk, and when I did snag a chocolate one, sometimes I saved it for my little brother, who commuted with me for my last two years. (Other times, I downed it right away.)
I had totally forgotten about all of this until I started working out again recently. (Having a metabolism that could burn off anything is another thing I miss about being an athlete. Alongside, you know, riding horses all the time.) Today I ran four miles. When I stumbled back into my apartment, I was red in the face, soaked in sweat. I haven’t felt like that since I ran suicides in team workout. As I stood there panting, wondering why the hell I’d decided to do this to myself again, I had an intense craving for chocolate milk. I started giggling, which is not a good thing to do when you already can’t breathe. I think I’ll have to get myself a bottle, and I’ll drink it in honor of all the poor girls who currently clean tequila and nachos off the ceilings of skyboxes.