Pre-game routines are sacred to many surprisingly superstitious athletes. LeBron James has his chalk toss, the All Blacks have the haka, and 21-year-old AFL player Matt Rowell has deep squats and chowing down on grass.
Rowell’s green pre-match snack is going viral online because it’s wackier than a three-man kick-on circa 7 AM. Fox Sports posted the video to their Facebook page and it has racked up over a million views in under 24 hours.
The squatting, hand-rubbing, pre-consumption grass sniff, and of course, the fact that he eats grass, all combine to make a perfect video for internet virality.
Rowell, who plays for the Gold Coast Suns, has not yet explained why he decided to do what he did, which means the internet has been allowed to speculate - awesome.
“Could be a ‘grounding his energy’ thing,” said one spiritual person on Twitter. “Becoming on with Mother Gaia? Aligning his root chakra with the spirits and guiding angels?”
“Just a marketing trick to keep his name up in lights,” wrote one conspiracy theorist. “It’s all about branding these days.”
“Apparently the Suns spent a couple of weeks dreaming this one up,” someone replied to the conspiracy theorist. “Was the best of a couple of briefs from agencies.”
Another theory reckons Rowell did it “to become one with the venue and beam an energy that the earth transmits into Rowell’s feet whilst he is on the ground.”
One last response to the video seems to provide a genuine answer, though I am almost positive there are better alternatives.
“This trick is as old as time,” the supposed sports and grass expert writes. “Use your saliva to break down the grass and extract the sugars, then rub it on your hands. It’s as good as belt grip for catching a ball.”
So, apparently, it helps his on-field performance. To be honest, I hope we never know for sure why Rowell put grass to mouth, the mystery is what makes it so special.