BY JACOB SCHLOTE
Do you ever wonder what it’s like to go on trips with college teams? To get on a charter bus with everyone and sit for long periods before arriving at a hotel with little leisure time to spare? Sports trips are generally lots of fun from my experience, but they have some disadvantages. Some people think athletes mess around, goof off and miss class. However, everything isn’t always what it seems. While trips can be fun for athletes, the fact that we have to miss class sometimes hinders us if we are not prepared. For instance, as a hockey player, I have considerable experience missing classes for hockey games away from Lebanon. Other students may have different experiences of their team traveling and have different opinions about missing classes.
Andrew Falls, a junior at McKendree, plays hockey for McKendree. When I asked him about what he felt about traveling, he said: “I really like traveling with the team. I like the camaraderie within the group and spending time with some great people.” He didn’t like missing class because students can’t always get that time back with the teacher in class. “It’s hard to miss school, and focus on playing the game at the same time.” If Falls has stuff to do, he always works on homework during study hours. He also dislikes going on team bus rides. “I have a harder time on the longer trips, I’m 6’5, so it can get cramped on the longer bus rides.”
Andrew Sparks is a graduate assistant for the McKendree Athletic Training program and is going through McKendree master’s program as well. Sparks talks about traveling with the men’s volleyball team last year. When asked about traveling, he responded, “I like traveling to see new places, seeing new arenas.” Andrew noted that he enjoyed traveling to Division I schools the most because the athletic training facilities were spectacular. However, he didn’t like time being taken away from his weekends as well as having to do homework on the bus and hauling his computer gear everywhere. “I liked staying in hotels, but I did not like sharing a room.” Andrew developed time-management skills and learned how to communicate effectively with the other teams’ athletic training department. By traveling with the team, he developed key attributes that will help him in his future work place.
A McKendree senior on the wrestling team, Jon Vogt, gave a little insight on what happens on wrestling trips. Vogt enjoyed watching movies on the bus rides and being able to unwind and relax. Vogt did not like the length of the rides because they were sometimes uncomfortable and his teammates would occasionally get on his nerves from being with them for long periods of time. “The heavyweights on the team eat in front of you on purpose because they know you have to try and cut weight and that really makes me mad.” According to Vogt, his team liked sitting around on the bus and talking. Vogt said it can be hard missing school but since he is a good student, studies and does his homework, he is able to handle it. “We leave on Friday and our meet is early Saturday morning, so we usually get back that day or early Sunday morning.”
Hannah Hellyer, a graduate assistant at McKendree University, helps in coaching the women’s golf team and plays the sport herself. She attended Gardner Webb in Pennsylvania for her undergraduate degree while playing golf and is currently working hard to get into the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association (WPGA). Her time as a golf teammate was an eye-opener because she had learned much about dealing with people by approaching situations of conflict. When I asked if she liked playing for the team and traveling, she said, “I liked it but I also disliked it at the same time.” She noted that she had a love/hate relationship with golf. It wasn’t because she didn’t love the sport, but the people around her were hard to deal with. She hated sitting in the van for long periods of time with people whom she felt didn’t work as hard as she did. She traveled with five other women and had to stay with these women during every trip. “Driving and having to be with these girls all the time is an experience I will never forget.”
Photo credits to Jacob Schlote