I never used to drink one of the world’s most popular drinks. Every time I step inside Bo’s Coffee or walk beside a Coffee Dream kiosk—with no offense meant to Steve Benitez and Glenn Soco, my good friends who own our two most popular and home-grown coffee shops—I stare at the menu, pause for three seconds, and signal to order the same hot drink each time. Not cappuccino. Not cafe latte. Not a shot of espresso. But, yes, as corny as it sounds, a glass of hot tea.
That was then. Just six months ago—and I don’t know what triggered it—I bought sachets of San Mig Coffee. You know, those small plastics that come in color blue? One morning, I drank a hot cup. Hmmm. One day turned into two. A few days into one week. Seven days transformed into a month. And now, half-a-year later, I’m a certified member of the worldwide organization whose membership of hundreds of millions spans from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe… I’m a coffee drinker!
I know, I know… you’re probably giggling and thinking, “You mean you only knew now? About coffee? Ha-ha-ha-ha!”
You’re right. And now that I know, I believe I’ll be a coffee drinker for life. But now the question: Why this coffee talk in the sports page?
I’ll tell you why: Coffee pumps me up. On many mornings, I wake up at 6:15 a.m. with eyes half-open, head tilted, sliding my feet while my legs are still asleep in bed. I’m tired. Sleepy. And my brain neurons tell me I need more Zzzzz’s. In five words: I Don’t Want To Exercise.
But here’s what happens next: I tear open a Nescafe Intense sachet (yes, I’ve “graduated” from drinking solely San Mig Coffee and now buy boxes of various flavors to alternate each day), pour the 3-in-1 mix into a hot cup of water, sit on a chair, sip, sip, sip and, five minutes later, here’s what happens…
My eyes enlarge. My heart beats 20 pumps faster. I’m sweating. All the drowsiness from moments ago is replaced by energy. Next, I put on my shorts, tie my Nike shoelaces, step on a treadmill or drive to Family Park and, one hour later, I’ve ran the distance of a 10-K.
Want to hear my chant? THANK YOU, COFFEE!
No kidding. This miraculous cup of brown liquid will, very often, transform me from a slow-walking, just-awoken zombie into a 100-percent-charged Energizer battery.
And so here’s my point: If you still haven’t been addicted to coffee, start now. Weeks back, I convinced my mom Allen to do the same and, when we had breakfast last week, she was sipping what I was sipping.
But how much coffee is good—or bad—for us? I don’t know. I tried to research that question but was drowned with hundreds of varying opinions. But here’s one fact that’s never disputed: Drink in moderation. One in the morning, another mid-morning, one more after lunch. That’s fine.
But, for example, eight cups of coffee? That will get you banned from the Olympics. This might surprise you but, yes, caffeine is among the 40 different stimulants banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“Since the 2000 Olympics,” wrote the running website www.teamcrossworld.com, “caffeine has been banned by the IOC. The level that is banned is approximately 8 cups of coffee. If the IOC found that much caffeine in your urine, they would assume that you are trying to gain a competitive advantage.”
But if taken in moderation, as the Univ. of Michigan Health System website states, here what coffee does: “… it makes (people) feel more alert, gives them more energy, improves their mood, and makes them more productive. Athletes often use caffeine to help them perform better, both in routine workouts and in competition.”
And so, coffee is good—especially for athletic performance. But a word of caution: Once, my buddy Andrew Jimenez and I drank a cup each after our Rotary meeting. It was 9:30 p.m. That night, as we related to each other days after, we turned, tossed and couldn’t sleep. The ignorant coffee drinkers that we were, that’s a nice lesson learned: At night, don’t touch that coffee!