On The Road with the Captains (part II)
It’s 2 am and the main TV?s are off. The lights on the bus are off. It’s pitch dark. The only light you see are the firefly-like flickering of iPods from seat to seat as everybody changes songs. Legs and limbs alike change positions more than the leaders in a NASCAR race. DVD players are feeding off the last drops of battery. Counting exits is like a torture unknown to any man. Those trips under 5 hours become an afterthought. Welcome to the bus ride home at the end of a minor league road trip.
Now, if you are over 6 feet tall it’s hard enough trying to get comfortable enough to pass out. What about those guys over 6’5″ (echem!). Well, the only analogies I can draw would be a scene from Austin Powers. He is in bed with Vanessa Kensington saying, “Help, I’m in a nutshell. How did I get into this bloody great big nutshell? What kind of shell has a nut like this!?” Yea, that’s about right. Or maybe The Amazing Yen from Ocean’s Eleven curling up in the safe deposit box during the big heist.
You may be asking, “How do you prepare for rides over 5 hours?” Coming back from Greensboro, NC, Thursday night into Friday morning. That was a trip. After playing a doubleheader at Greensboro, we left for Eastlake (home of the Captains) at 12:10 am. The expected time of arrival was about 8 am. As I’ve mentioned already, I don’t sleep on buses. Not because I’m afraid or anything. I simply can’t physically get comfortable enough to sleep! We each have our own pair of seats to ourselves. But they don’t really comply to the tall people. I try putting my feet over the seats in front of me or on the seats across the aisle. No dice. My legs and feet were asleep within 5 minutes and I spent the next 5 shaking it out to regain feeling. I like to stock up on food on the last day. I usually get some granola bars, two bottles of water, and some gum. This “travel pack” usually holds me down. Other than food, my iPod usually only gets me through half of the bus ride if I?m watching a movie on it. Listening to music, it usually runs out with still a few hours of ride left. I simply stare at nothing.
What about the bathroom???
I sit in the 4th row. This means, no bathroom. Don’t get me wrong. There IS a bathroom, in the way back. But it’s more dangerous trying to get to it than stranding yourself in Jurassic Park covered in blood with no defense. Just look back there. It’s crazy! Like a labyrinth of feet. To get to the bathroom, it takes an impeccable display of balance, timing, and athleticism. I don’t really have any of that, so I chose to hold it in. Or hope the bus driver needs to go at some point and drops into a rest stop.
I do need to give the bus drivers as much credit as I can. These guys drive for hours and hours without complaint. I can only imagine how awful it must have been on the bus that crashed near Atlanta. I knew one of the Bluffton players from Marietta. He transferred after his freshman year. He survived, but my heart was with him. Scary thought for everybody. But it doesn?t happen very often, and that’s a testament to the mental strength and abilities of these bus drivers. Big shout out.
Finally, we get back. It’s daylight now. The sun has risen. Be at the field at 5 pm. Being that it?s already 8 am, it’s time for bed. Call it a day on the nightshift. Now it’s Sunday and we are just about back to 100%. It takes a few days to recover from those trips. Doubleheader tomorrow as our game was (go figure) postponed because of the snow from last night. I’ll be pitching game 2 so I’ll be back to discuss the outing later tomorrow. See ya.