It’s a far too common occurrence: there I am at the Haverford College Nature Trail. I am not even a mile into my daily run but I can already feel a burning sensation creeping up the back of my throat. With every step I take, the taste of what I had for lunch works its way back into my mouth. I’m faced with two decisions.
The first: I ask my running partners to slow down as I work my way over to the side of the trail to throw up.
The second: I continue on with my run and do my best to ignore the near certainty that I will throw up.
I am sure that this is not a universal experience for all Haverford athletes, but the results of a B-lunch are far too pervasive. I can only imagine what a football player has to go through—being tackled while the remnants of an hour-and-a-half-old lunch slosh around in his stomach. Or a water polo player whose late lunch is combining with the chlorine-ridden pool water they may have swallowed. The seemingly inconsequential act of eating during B-lunch is far from that.
The idea that some students have only an hour and a half between lunch and a practice that the school requires us to participate in is ludicrous. Though B-lunch only ended five minutes earlier on the schedule from the 2019-2020 school year, students were allowed to eat in Wilson Hall. I know that some sticklers for the rules will point out that technically we could not, but teachers often let students snack on a granola bar during class as long as we did not make a mess. This meant that instead of eating a full lunch, students could eat smaller snacks throughout the day and eat less at lunch resulting in a calm stomach during that day’s practice.
With the addition of COVID-19 precautions, the prohibition on food in Wilson Hall is enforced more seriously this year. This means that a student with B-lunch will, on most days, remain without any sort of sustenance from 8:30 in the morning until 1:15—a ridiculous 4 hours and 45 minutes that does not account for the fact that most students do not finish breakfast at exactly 8:30 and most students have to wait at least five minutes for lunch once in the dining hall.
Not only has this led to problems during practice which I previously touched on, but it also leads to many other consequences. Possibly the most dangerous is the choice of not eating during B-lunch. One B-lunch day sophomore year, I decided to skip because I did not want to deal with the possible consequences during an important workout later that day. This decision was effective in preventing vomit but it led to something much worse—my blood sugar bottoming out. I had not eaten anything since 8:30 a.m. which meant that I was deprived of the proper nutrition for a workout. Instead of finishing the workout, proud that I made it through it, I was sprawled out in the first lane of the track, blacked out. I eventually came to and a teammate helped me walk, more aptly stumble, to the trainer’s office. There, I was given a snack to bring my blood sugar up and within fifteen minutes I felt back to normal.
Instead of focusing on the lesson at hand, we are often preoccupied by the primitive desire of hunger [throughout the period before B lunch.]
Another problem that is far more common is distraction during classes preceding B-lunch. Instead of focusing on the lesson at hand, we are often preoccupied by the primitive desire of hunger. The empty feeling in our stomachs distracts us from actively getting work done. It often leads to complaining and even sometimes bargaining with the teacher in order to get out of class and into the dining hall only five minutes earlier than usual. This wastes class time that would otherwise be spent learning.
These criticisms are not to discredit all of the hard work that the administration has done in allowing us to go to school and more importantly, eat with our fellow students in the dining hall during these dangerous times. I write this article merely to bring to light a fault in the current system that the administration might not have even known about. Along with the problems listed above, I am sure there are many more that other students can provide. I give the abbreviated version only to bring to the forefront what I and many others believe to be a problem with the current schedule—an easily fixable problem that should be addressed.