The Sports Desk: Mustard

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Nick Nunn, Nunnsense

Nick Nunn, Nunnsense

By Nick Nunn

I spend a lot of time eating my words, among other foodstuffs. It seems that each time I protest against someone’s claim loudly, I end up having to recant and admit that I was wrong later.

(You’d think that I would learn to keep my mouth shut, but I don’t think there is any real danger of that happening any time soon.)

Anyway, about a month ago, I was visiting my grandmother, Sybil Nunn, and she told me – I can’t remember why this came up – that mustard is good for getting rid of cramps.

I had never heard of mustard curing cramps, and I hope that I was nice about telling her that I thought she was dead wrong. Naturally, after completely discounting the idea and letting it pass from my mind almost immediately, I went about my everyday life none the wiser.

That is, until I was at an MCHS football game a few weeks ago. I saw one of the athletes come limping off the field with deep cramp as I was headed downfield to keep an eye on the action when, wouldn’t you know it, one of the managers headed the debilitated athletes’ way – with a big yellow bottle of French’s mustard.

I stopped dead in my tracks and laughed at what I had just seen. For over a year, I had been walking the sidelines, probably seeing more cramps that I could count on all of my digits, and I had never, not once seen any condiment whatsoever on the field during the game. Or maybe I just hadn’t noticed it until the possibility was brought to my attention.

I’d like to think that the former is correct. Since then, not a game has gone by that mustard hasn’t been called in for its cramp-alleviating properties During the Jackson County game last Friday, I was standing mere feet away from a player who took a bottle of mustard, cocked his head back, and fired at least a quarter of a cup of the tangy stuff directly into his mouth.

After a quick search on the internet, it appears that the medical reasons for why mustard can fight cramps is somewhat debated. Most sources cite the acetic acid – which is found in vinegar – as the element that goes to work relaxing the cramped muscles, but there is also the possibility that the turmeric in yellow mustard acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Whatever the healing property, mustard appears to work on relieving cramps. Some people even keep mustard packets by their bed in case they have trouble with cramps in the night. As for me, I think I’ll only use this home-cooked remedy if I also have a hotdog on my bedside table as well. Grandma, sorry for doubting you.

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