The growth of the Overwatch League has brought its fair share of changes. Overwatch is still as frenetic and packed with particle effects as ever, sure, and the players are still the same raucous, nose-to-the-grindstone nerds they’ve always been. One thing, though, has shifted dramatically. One little change that you’ve maybe noted in passing, but never thought too deeply on.
Here’s a Question
Take note of the first thing that pops into your head when you ask yourself, “What do these players eat?”
Your reflexive first answers – don’t lie, I’m watching – were probably something to the tune of “Red Bull, soda, chips, and fast food,” right? It’s easy to think of the typical gamer stereotypes; the IV drip of energy drink and a constant stream of Uber Eats at questionable hours. (That last one still happens a good deal in the Overwatch League, admittedly. These guys do not like going places for food.)
The rest, though, are being categorically removed from diets across the league. As teams focus in on the physical and mental health of their players, personal trainers and dietitians have put their foot down on the grease and sugar that often stood front and center on the daily meal plan. You’ve all heard of Chef Heidi and her amazing work for the Philadelphia Fusion, of course – she’s had Youtube videos made about her origin story, and a cavalcade of interviews across multiple publications, including the OWL site. She runs a kick-ass blog, too, where she spotlights recipe crafting and raves about her experiences as an unassuming esports icon.
Teams tripped over their Costco boxes of ramen to hire a team chef or high-quality catering service in 2019. Philly’s success last season was carried on an unassuming tide of sound management and strong infrastructure – including the contributions of Chef Heidi – and at first glance, it looks like more than a couple teams did their best to mirror their process to ensure success in future seasons. Which finally gets me to our question…
What are these guys eating?
Rather, what are Overwatch League players’ favorite things to eat? We couldn’t get a hold of any team chefs to go over menus, so instead we sat down with a slew of OWL players to talk about their favorite foods.
Some keep it simple. Grant “moth” Espee from the San Francisco Shock loves sushi – “There’s so much variety, and all of it’s good!” – while Boombox from the Philly Fusion is a sucker for spaghetti carbonara. I got a smile out of him when pressed. “It’s pasta, I’m from Europe… you get the idea.”
Nikola “sleepy” Andrews from the Washington Justice opts for an Overwatch League mainstay.
“I’m not really sure I have a favorite food,” he mused. “I’m really indecisive. If I don’t know what I want to eat – if nothing sounds better – I’ll just eat Chipotle. Sometimes I’ll literally eat Chipotle five times in a week.”
Plenty of players, like Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty from the Houston Outlaws, have mentioned their love for the Mexican-style chain. It might technically count as fast food, but a bowl of rice, beans, lettuce and protein sure beats a burger and fries – for some. Other players have only just been introduced to the wonder that is American fast food, and don’t intend to pull away from it so easily.
When pressed, Dong-hyeong “Daco” Seo from the Atlanta Reign revealed his guilty pleasure:
“Chick-fil-A! The Spicy Deluxe combo with waffle fries… it’s by far the best thing I’ve had in the states. Especially with the Chick-fil-A sauce. It’s so good.”
Some players eat what reminds them of home. Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin from the Houston Outlaws reminisces – often – about one of his favorite hometown treats:
“In Finland, there’s this one restaurant that has kebabs I really love… It’s basically lamb cooked and shaved off a spit, sliced really thin, on a stick with some fries. It’s kind of fast food, but at the end of the day, how can you not go for meat and potatoes when it tastes so good?”
Junhwa “Janus” Song has a more refined favorite – ramen. Surprisingly few players cited the relatively popular meal as their favorite, but Washington’s main front-liner can’t get enough of the stuff.
“I really like Japanese ramen, specifically – largely because I’m really into Japanese culture as a whole. There are a lot of great Japanese foods, like yakitori and sushi, but ramen is on the cheaper side, so it’s easier to get into. Even so, it’s really complex as a meal, and has a deeper range of flavors than Korean ramen.”
Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman has many labels. You might know him as a star flex support, bowl cut enthusiast, feeder extraordinaire… but did you know that he’s also a vegetarian?
“We have a team chef that makes food for us every day. Right now I’m really into chow mein; simple things, really. Things with carbs.”
TGH: Was this a recent change? Are you eating this way just to be healthier?
“To be healthy, sure, but also for the energy it gives me. The sustainability, y’know? I took a course on it, and they talked about how Americans eat half a ton of meat a week – which is a crazy stat, right? We’re only supposed to eat 50 or 60 grams a day, depending on activity levels. That’s what I based my decision off of. The team’s chef and our nutritionist both help me stay on track, and it’s done a lot of good for me.”
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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment