Road trips are a strange phenomenon, unlike any weekend spent at Shattuck-St. Mary’s.
Forty girls, four coaches, and two bus drivers shoved into a cramped bus for a dozen hours brings to the surface and exposes the good, the bad, and the quirky aspects of a group that already spends almost every waking minute together. For these weekends, we replace our Land’s End khakis with gray, black, and maroon sweat suits and cram into our maroon coach bus, which is packed with backpacks, an array of brightly colored fuzzy blankets, and lots of snacks (Fruit Smiles are a fan favorite!).
Maneuvering from one end of the bus to the other is often a challenge, since girls are sprawled out on yoga mats and sleeping bags in the aisles and upon the seats. The most effective (yet dangerous) way to get around the bus is to carefully pounce like a flexible jungle animal from one shoulder rest of a seat to the next. We pass the time with movies, “study hall,” napping, and sometimes karaoke!
After we roll into the glorious Holiday Inn Express, our busy weekend of hockey begins. Most of these superstitions, rituals, and routines are top-secret and highly confidential, but I can disclose that this past weekend was an excellent bonding experience for both teams.
Each road trip brings with it a specific set of challenges, but also experiences that will last a lifetime. Some of my best memories from my career at Shattuck have happened in hotel rooms, at grimy rest stops, and in the back of a crowded bus right around midnight.
So, I have compiled a list of the top ten best and worst things about a road trip (in no particular order), but I can assure you that the positives outweigh the negatives by a landslide.
1. Bus legs
2. Having a wet towel all weekend long
3. Shampoo/conditioner exploding all over hockey bag after bus ride
4. Sitting below a leaking air conditioner on the bus
5. Overall grimy bus experience
6. Running out of snacks
7. Trying to do homework with limited success
8. Not having the comforts of the home rink; having to carry gear in from the bus, etc
9. Sleeping with teammates who steal all the covers/snore/kick
10. Getting back on campus at absurdly late hours and still going to class
1. Eating Noodles, Jimmy Johns, and Panera Bread
2. More sleep than at school
3. Having someone else clean your room
4. Getting to see parents at the tournament
5. No school = afternoon naps!
6. Wearing sweatpants instead of khakis
7. Always having something to do on a weekend
8. Getting more than four minutes to eat breakfast
9. The late night bonding sessions at the back of the bus
10. Getting to play hockey all weekend long with nineteen best friends