Winnipeg Blue Bombers linebacker Adam Bighill planned to go eat a rib steak on Saturday night before Sunday’s Grey Cup, cooked medium-rare with sautéed onions. Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive tackle Dylan Wynn planned to spend his evening floating in a sensory deprivation tank.
As the Tiger-Cats and Blue Bombers wrapped up day-before walk-throughs on the field at McMahon Stadium under sunshine and 7 degree Celsius temperatures, they shed some light on how they spend the final 24 hours before playing in Canada’s biggest yearly football game.
Wynn said he hoped to do what he does for most games – seek out a local facility that allows him to float for a good 60-90 minutes in a high-density Epsom salt bath, cut off from the sights and sounds of the outside world.
“The air and water are the same temperature as your skin so you don’t feel the air or the water and it’s pitch black. I lay there and visualize what I’m gonna do in the game, clear my mind and visualize my job, and my plays,” said Winn. “Visualization has been huge for me professionally. I find in the tank it’s easier. There are no distractions.”
Like most players, Wynn likes to stick to his routines while preparing for a game, no matter the city he’s playing in or the size of the game. On game-day morning – as he has done for every game-day morning dating back to high school – he always eats Eggs Benedict.
Like Winnipeg’s Bighill, lots of players from both teams said they plan to eat a big steak Saturday night, although most couldn’t explain why they believe beef is key to their performance.
“I’m not sure why, but it’s usually steak, and that’s more tradition than anything. I’ve been doing that forever,” said Ticats offensive tackle Chris Van Zeyl. “I always keep it really quiet, and have a nice dinner with teammates.”
Hamilton’s Quarterback Dane Evans said he always opts for a simple pasta dish the night before a game, then a huge breakfast on game day, including fruit, eggs, and pancakes.
Some planned to spend the final night before the Grey Cup away from football talk completely – with the friends and family who have traveled to Calgary.
“I want to take my Dad somewhere fancy, because anytime I get to spend with my Dad I like to show him off,” said Hamilton linebacker Simoni Lawrence. “We’ll have a big steak dinner and I’ll probably be in bed by 10.”
Lawrence said his ride to the stadium on Sunday would likely involve listening to the Jay-Z track ‘Takeover’.
Zach Collaros – who will be Winnipeg’s starting quarterback in this game, but was Hamilton’s when the Ticats lost the 2014 Grey Cup – predicted he may have some trouble sleeping Saturday night.
“I’m a bad sleeper, I’ve never been a good sleeper,” said Collaros. “If I wake up at 5 a.m., it’s hard to get back to sleep. The scenarios start running through your head.”
That’s when his teammate Andrew Harris jumped into the conversation.
“I’m a great sleeper,” boasted Harris, the Bombers running back. “I’ll get 10 hours.”
Collaros said on Grey Cup morning – like he does for ever game – he would relax by clearing his mind from football for a bit.
“In the morning I try not to even think about it, but find something on TV has nothing to do with the game,” said Collaros. “The hay is already in the barn.”