B.C. Lions’ O-Line finds fellowship in food
Minos Restaurant owner George Georgiou was caught off-guard when a group of 300-pound bruisers piled through the door of his venerable Tranquille Road establishment.
“Four big guys walk inside . . . I have to stop, like that,” said Georgiou, recounting what happened at the Greek eatery in May.
“I got no clue they were big B.C. Lions. They order some food and, all of a sudden, they start clapping.
“I go. I sat with them. I got no clue. They say, ‘We highly recommend you for healthy Mediterranean organic food.’
“I said, ‘Thank-you. That’s how I’m here for 30 years!”
Among the hungry Lions at Minos that night was Simon Fraser University graduate Angus Reid, an 11-year Canadian Football League veteran.
Anyone who has followed the Lions’ centre on Twitter throughout the off-season and into training camp will know annihilating food is nothing new to the Leos’ hogs.
“It’s quite a sight for the other patrons at their establishment to see three, four or five 300-pounders walk in there and demolish everything on their menu,” Reid said.
“We work hard and we play hard. It’s part of the life and the fun of being a professional athlete.”
Reid promised Georgiou he would return to Minos with more of his linemen pals during training camp, which wrapped up on Tuesday, June 21, at Hilliside Stadium — and, on June 11, that’s exactly what Reid did.
This time, however, Georgiou was prepared.
“There was 10. I prepare food for 20,” said Georgiou, whose humour goes down just as well as his hummus.
“They love chicken souvlakis, jumbo prawn souvlakis, Greek salad, rice, potatoes, filet mignon souvlakis, beef souvlakis and roast lamb.
“They said, ‘George, stop. No more food, OK?”
Reid wasted no time expressing how he felt about his Minos experience that night.
“The BEST Greek food I have EVER had!! With George the owner,” a bursting-full Reid posted on Twitter minutes after the meal.
It was not the first time in recent history that aggressive eating was on the Lions’ menu.
In March, Reid and fellow linemen Justin Sorensen, Andrew Jones, Dean Valli, Jesse Newman and Jon Hameister-Ries each attempted to eat three Mikeburger meals at Mr. Mike’s Steakhouse and Bar in Langley.
The madness continued in May when the O-line spent Cinco de Mayo at Taco Del Mar in Coquitlam, where they tried to polish off five-pound burritos.
Charities often benefit from the Lions’ eating sprees. For example, 10 per cent of Taco Del Mar’s sales for the first week in May were donated to the Children of the Street Society.
“It’s good for charities and it helps get the Lions’ name out in the community,” Reid told KTW.
The Lions are always welcome back at Minos, said Georgiou, noting he would love to serve the Vancouver Canucks, but they don’t present the same challenge for him in the kitchen.
“It’s an honour to have [the Lions],” Georgiou said.
“They’re beautiful people. They talk to everybody. They give hugs to the kids.
“They give me a nice ball, everybody signed it, ‘To George, the best Greek food ever.’
Burning calories and blossoming camaraderie
For a guy who readily admits to “demolishing” food, Reid is pretty confident in the offensive line’s conditioning heading into the regular season.
“I can guarantee you, and these guys say it to me every day, they’re in better shape than they’ve ever been in their lives,” said Reid, who wears No. 64.
It might sound like false bravado, but the six-foot-1, 305-pound centre has every reason to believe quarterback Travis Lulay won’t be spending too much time on the seat of his pants.
“I’ve always been a hard worker but, this year, I got the guys together for almost the entire off-season — the whole O-line that lives in town — and we trained together every day.”
Reid, Hameister-Ries, Jones, Newman and Sorenson spent a great deal of time at Gold’s Gym in Richmond, where they worked hard in preparation for training camp.
“They gave us a private room because, let’s be honest, most public gyms don’t like 300-pound guys bending bars, throwing weights, using chalk, yelling and screaming and cranking music,” Reid said.
“At 8 a.m. every day, we met and we got after it.”
The group also spent time working on positional play and fitness at the B.C Lions’ training facility in Surrey.
“We’ve spent four months together as a unit,” Reid said.
“When things get tough out there, you know you can rely on each other because you’ve already been doing it for months on end.
“A lot of guys get prepared on their own and they’re asked to come together and blend in a week at camp, and that’s impossible to do.”
Lions head coach and GM Wally Buono has taken notice of the extra work put in by the big boys up front.
“A lot of the guys, like Angus said, have been in town pretty much the whole off-season, so they’ve worked out together, they’ve socialized together and had some fun together,” said Buono, who is entering his ninth season with the Lions.
“The O-line is such a close-knit group of guys that I think it creates a good chemistry among them.”
Angus Reid: The River City restauranteur extraordinaire
Here is proof in the form of Angus Reid tweets that restaurants should be looking to capitalize on the B.C. Lions’ visits to Kamloops.
— Great brecky at #Cora’s with @Rikester13 and @TravisLulay. Now off to get a workout in and some pool work
— The BEST Greek food I have EVER had!! With George the owner. Outside MINOS in Kamloops
— 2 things better about being in Kamloops this morning. 1) no rioting here last night 2) there’s a CORA’S here!! Out to brecky with the QB’s
— Parents came up to visit at camp. Taking me to White Spot for lunch. A GREAT break from camp!
— Bobby and Sherko showed up to camp today. Headed to lunch with them to Earls. Feels like old times again!
— The O Line is headed to #ricksgrille for dinner tonight. Should be fun,and tasty!! Mmmmm steak