On Friday, a curious tweet made its way around, well, Twitter:

Whoa! Those are two words you don’t expect to see after “Coaching staff just [did blank].” “Coaching staff just exited meeting” — sure. “Coaching staff just announced recruits” — makes sense. “Coaching staff just ate fire” — no, sir, that’s just not something you see everyday.

Oh, and it wasn’t just the Minnesota State-Mankato coaches:

So, um, exactly why did they eat fire? Is it related to the NCAA forcing some athletes to go to bed hungry?

Cindra Kamphoff, the director of the school’s Center of Sport and Performance Psychology, provided an answer. In comments relayed via email by the school’s assistant athletic communications director, Kamphoff wrote:

 [On Friday] we had a mental training workshop where the theme was “Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional.” We talked about 4 ways that the best of the best adopted to change and commit to moving forward. We talked about how to psychologically move forward. We know that the best athletes embrace change and they have a growth mindset by working to make adjustments and growing and getting better each day.

We ate fire at the end with the coaches going first to symbolize that things change all around us every day. When we are comfortable being uncomfortable (that is what we need to embrace change), we can do things we didn’t think we could do – like eating fire. Eating fire is more psychological than physical. If you stick to the fundamentals, it is easy. But if you don’t commit when the fire is right in your face, you don’t take the risk and you get stuck. You can’t be the best that you can absolutely be if you are stuck not wanting to change and/or focusing on things you can’t control.

If they can eat fire, they can do anything! Eating the fire was about committing to moving forward with the Spring Game, an incredible summer of training, next fall, and striving for excellence every day.

Apparently, the Maverick defense was just a bit more committed to moving forward, as it defeated the offense in the game, 38-33. Maybe next year the offense can make time for some pregame sword-swallowing.