I am starting to think that Jaromir Jagr has an unhealthy relationship with caffeine. Long known as a militant Diet Coke drinker—at least five a day, “no vitamins, nothing”—Jagr this year switched to coffee, and upped his intake to what for a normal human would be a frightening quantity of the stuff. But obviously this is not a normal human being.
I can’t get enough of stories about Jagr maintaining the skills to not only be a competent NHL player at age 44, but somehow managing to be the Panthers’ leading goal- and point-scorer. This Wall Street Journal piece is a particularly good one, chalking up Jagr’s success to his intense, sometimes innovative training methods, his giant ass (really), and his occasional attempts at eating healthy.
Each year he gives up something for Lent, not solely out of piety, but out of a belief that self-denial can only be a good thing for a professional athlete’s body with less of a margin for error than just about anybody else’s. Last year it was the soda. This year, the soda’s replacement.
When Jagr gave up Diet Coke last year—“I drank it every day, I would have five a day at least,” he said—he tried it again after Easter. He hated the taste so much that he had to mix the soda with water, and then he gave it up altogether. This year his has quit coffee.
“I was drinking 10 a day,” he said. “I felt awful the first few days, I felt like I had no energy at all. I was playing games I didn’t even know I played, the first few games. But then the body got used to it.”
My friends know to avoid me on Saturdays because it’s my first caffeine-free day in six days and I’m liable to flip shit. I have no idea how Jagr went cold turkey without genociding Sunrise.
Considering a pregame cup of coffee nearly killed Matthew Dellavedova, the thing that impresses me the most is not the willpower required for Jagr to give up his addiction. Not is it his willingness to keep improving his fitness at this age. It’s that he was able to be such a good hockey player while downing the stuff like water. Dude’s a freak.