Pictured (left to right) are Jessica McCabe, Jennifer Butcher and Dawn Hunter. The trio have been helping to serve pickle juice to Galion High School football players on Fridays in hopes of helping to prevent cramping during games.

Erin Miller | Galion Inquirer

Drinking pickle juice can help to prevent muscle cramps. Maybe.

At least that is what Dawn Hunter and Jessica McCabe were told over the years when their daughters played softball. Whether it is true or not is not scientifically proven, but Hunter and McCabe figured if it didn’t hurt their girls, it was worth a try with the Galion football team, too.

When the varsity football team opened its season against Wynford on Aug. 17, the Tigers left the field with the victory, but it didn’t come easy as many of the players dealt with bouts of cramping.

As a Galion football mom as well as a food services worker in the Galion High School cafeteria, Hunter decided to use her resources and do what she could to help eliminate the issue.

“We always have big jars of pickle juice left over from the pickles that we serve to go with our lunches, so we thought why not give it a try,” Hunter said.

Little did Hunter, McCabe, and fellow coworker Jennifer Butcher know that this small gesture would end up creating quite the buzz in just a few weeks time. As the Galion football team has continued to win, the weekly pickle juice drinking on game days has become tradition for the players as well as them.

The players, consisting of seniors Gabe Ivy, Linkon Tyrrell, Hunter Miniard, Holden Hunter, and Carson Frankhouse as well as other teammates, show up every Friday at the end of their third period classes to drink their pickle juice. Some of them without incident, a few others somewhat begrudgingly. Either way, they enjoy the momentum and the added hype it has given to their season so far.

“We don’t know if it actually helps with cramps, but we don’t want to mess with our ‘juju’ so far,” Ivy said. “We have been adding a few players every week just to spread the vibes a little bit.”

“But, none of you have gone down with cramps since you have been doing this,” Hunter was quick to remind the boys with a smile.

“It’s our go-go juice,” said Frankhouse to the agreement of all the seniors.

As the Tigers have continued to win, the drinking of the pickle juice has caught on outside of the team. Heading into the highly anticipated Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference matchup against Shelby on Sept. 15, “Bring the Juice” Beat Shelby started to circulate on social media. T-shirts were made by Hometown Prints in advance of the game, and the Galion cheerleaders put the saying on the banner the team ran through when they took the field Friday.

And while the Tigers may have come up short against the Whippets on Friday night, Hunter has no plans of stopping the pickle juice tradition.

“You win some, and you lose some,” said Hunter. “But I’ll still have pickle juice ready come next Friday.”

And to be clear, the pickle juice effort is just one part of the good things the Galion Food Services Department is doing for students and the community. In the summer of 2023, the department partnered with the USDA to sponsor a summer meal program across the city of Galion for anyone 18 years of age and under.

“The idea is to feed as many kids as we can in the best way possible,” said Shannon King, director of food services for Galion City Schools.

“By the end of the program, we had delivered 16,754 meals. I had a small crew of four ladies who were dedicated and worked hard to make this happen, and I am so thankful for them,” King said. “The items that the kids were receiving were foods they are used to getting when they are here at school. Each child gets five breakfasts and five lunches as well as bulk milk.

King said she is already looking ahead to plans for next summer.

“We started off this year by feeding 109 on the first day of our program, and the last week we had 258,” said King. “I hope that next year we will be able to start where we left off and grow from there to reach more of our kids and community”

Contact Erin Miller at 419-512-2662.