Keeping the Peanut Butter and Jelly, While Chasing NBA Immortality

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Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich via Shutterstock Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich via Shutterstock

The Golden State Warriors are on the path to becoming the best team in NBA history. But in the pursuit of excellence, even the best can sometimes go too far and intentions must be scaled back a bit.

This is basically what happened when players and coaches against the judgment of team nutritionists and the conditioning staff boycotted the team's ... wait for it .... peanut butter and jelly sandwich ban.

To give the players the best possible chance to (1) repeat as last year s NBA champions, and (2) eclipse the best all-time regular season record, a 72-10 mark set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, the Warriors' trainers figured their players needed every possible edge.

Knowing that a natural extension of any professional athlete s performance is food intake, the trainers reasoned that optimizing strike that, perfecting players' diet would give them that extra edge over their opponents. And so it was decreed: On the team's private plane, the Golden State Warriors' menu would be stripped of sugar all sugar until further notice.

Now, when we think of sugar, foods like candy, cookies and soda come to mind. So, when told all these foods including Gatorade must be eliminated from their diet while in the air, players were not surprised and even welcomed the cutback. And since the Warriors log more air miles than any other NBA team, this change promised to have a significant impact.

But when the sugar ban included having to say goodbye to their beloved PB&J's, well, that was going a bit too far. Not only is the dish a great American staple, but for these players it's a snack that, while providing fuel, is also near and dear to their hearts. They have been known to keep the ingredients, along with loaves of bread, in their lockers and courtside during games.

From a physiological perspective, the sugar ban might make sense. An important part of exercise performance involves blood sugar levels. The result of consuming large doses of concentrated sugars (i.e. jelly) forces the blood glucose levels to soar. This, in turn, triggers a release of insulin, which causes a subsequent drop in blood sugar. This destroys the stability of an athlete s blood-sugar level and can potentially contribute to poorer performance. However, when the jelly is combined with the peanut butter and whole grain bread, absorption of the sugar is slowed down. In addition, peanut butter provides some protein, which athletes certainly can use.

But in reality, it's just not practical to eliminate sugar entirely and there was no way!! the Warriors were going to part with their PB&Js.

The campaign to reinstate the sandwiches wasn't easy, and the revolt took awhile. But after nearly a year, the PBJ ban was lifted and the snack came back last month as an acceptable food choice. Players and coaches alike were delighted. (The team dietitian? Not so much.)

Even if you're not a pro athlete, there's still a lesson to be learned: We can t let the quest for perfection destroy our pursuit of the greater good.

For the Golden State Warriors, that quest is becoming the best. For others, it might be something like fitting into a former, smaller pants size, or feeling generally more alert and energized. Because in the end, success only comes in the presence of sustainable change. And that change usually includes "everything in moderation."

And besides, nobody is perfect, not these trainers and not even those who hope to become members of the best team in NBA history.