Traditions are important for many reasons, but for me, traditions around family and sport are the most memorable. When I was a student athlete at the University of Missouri I had the chance to enjoy several traditions that were established by my strength and conditioning coaches, Dave Toub, Don Sommer, and Bob Jones. The two that stand out the most were Gun Club and the Beast Feast. I will write about Gun Club in another Blog (if you know, you know). This blog is about the Beast Feast.
Every Spring, when I was a Collegiate Student Athlete and Mizzou, our Strength and Conditioning Coaches would cook for the previous year’s senior football players. That tradition took a short pause when Don Summers left for TCU, but when I returned to Mizzou to be the Director of Strength and Conditioning/ Head Strength Coach for Football, I wanted to bring the tradition back. In life, some of us have the privilege to start good traditions while others have the responsibility to continue good traditions.
From left to right, Antwan Floyd, Pat Ivey, Bryan Mann
And peep that date stamp!
If you knew the Strength and Conditioning staff at Mizzou, then you can only imagine how we did the return of the Beast Feast. We did it BIG! The dining hall would help us with over 100 pounds of meat and side dishes, plus cutlery, plates, napkins, condiments, etc. The community even pitched in with Sherman Brown, from Lindsey Rentals off of Sexton road, loaning us his bumper hitch trailer grill, tables and chairs. Each member of the Athletic Performance Staff had responsibilities such as the cooks, food preppers, set up and clean-up crew, and others. We always timed the Beast Feast to be on the night before their NFL Pro Day so we could have the best chance of all the former senior players to be in town.
As I reflect, the most important outcome of the Beast Feast was continuing the building of relationships. This event was the staff’s way of saying thank you to these former players and good luck in life. Sometimes we even had some repeat Beast Feasters. It was always an honor to have the players over to my house and to share some good times with their teammates, coaches, and with my family. We even had ESPN and cameras there for one of the years. If you are reading this and you and one of the many players or staff members who participated in a Beast Feast, I just want to say thank you once again and I hope you’re doing well!
And if you’re reading this and want to establish a tradition like this, don’t wait for funding or writing proposals or whatever – just make it happen! Nurture relationships with the dining hall on campus or with community members who support athletics. Creating a tradition such as the Beast Feast will create lifelong memories and further deepen the connection between athlete and coach.