Friday, January 25, 2013

Tales From The Road

A long time ago I read a blog written by a player at Simon Fraser University. Growing up as a young basketball player in Vancouver you had two choices: you could be a UBC fan, or you could be an SFU fan. I was the former. Despite this fact I was totally into this blog written by a player a SFU. She had this talent for taking the most meaningless thing about her team and making it sound so cool. Every week I looked forward to the insight and inspiration that I got from her writing. To be honest I don't remember a lot of specifics about what she wrote, except for one story. The team was on their way to play the University of Regina, and they arrived, by bus, in Regina in the middle of the night. For some reason when they arrived they weren't able to check in to their hotel. The team, along with the men's team, slept in the bus parked in the parking lot of their hotel - with a game to play the next night.

I can picture it: people all over the place, legs tangled across the aisle running overtop of people stretched out on the floor. Maybe a brave and creative point guard sleeping in the baggage rack above the seats. It must have sucked. And yet, when I read it I was captivated. I wanted that experience. Despite the sore backs and grogginess that must have annoyed them the entire next day, I wanted to be a part of it. When I read that I knew that one day, no matter what, I would play on a university basketball team.

I have a sense of romanticism for road trips - and I think that is where it came from. One of my favourite stories from when I played at Quest is when my team was temporarily stranded in Washington during a snow storm. The bus needed chains but our driver's arms were too thick to fit in the gap between the bus' back tires. My teammate Delainee and I changed into our dirty gear and crawled into the slush under the bus (while our driver happily snapped pictures on his phone). It took a while but we were able to connect the chains and continue through the mountains.

In our preseason this year some jerseys got left behind at a hotel in Maine while we continued south to New Hampshire. After some panicking, a few tears, and some makeshift tape numbers on practice gear we were able to play our game (and win, if I remember correctly).

It isn't often, but stuff like that happens. At the time is sucks but after weeks pass the stories get better and it ends up all being worth it.

We're on the road this weekend, and I'm on the bus right now. Our reservation is made at the hotel, the roads are clear, and I personally helped load the jerseys into the bus. I don't anticipate any drama (knock on wood).

By all accounts this trip is perfectly average. We've got an action movie on TV, and a game of cards happening at the back of the bus. The four dozen banana chocolate chip muffins I baked have already disappeared. Mel is studying (or at least pretending to) and Laura is sound asleep. The stale smell of Subway lingers and Mumford and Sons is blasting in my headphones to drown out the TV's repetitive gunfire. Yup, everything feels the same way it always does.

By my fifth year you think I'd have gotten tired of it but I haven't yet. Maybe it's because a decade ago I read something that associated road trip drama with strengthening team bonds, when being on the bus with my team would mean that I had "made it". We've got an hour or two to go, and I don't have many of these left, so I'm just going to sit back and take it all in (okay, and eat the last muffin that I've been saving for myself).


Tomorrow and Sunday we play Acadia. Both games are set for 2:00pm. Details at

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