Saturday at 1 p.m. the Burlington football team had not yet made it’s way to Guernsey for the football game. They didn’t quite make it for kickoff, but they finally arrived after six hours of travel to get to the game about 20 minutes late.
Road construction, weather, mechanical breakdown and distance. Arch enemies of all sports teams in Wyoming.
I’m convinced that the bus drivers in our state are just angels trying to get their wings. I can’t even imagine all they go through to get our kids safely and promptly from point “A” to point “B” in an allotted period of time.
They are like the bronc busters of the high school sports world, or perhaps have adopted the postal workers creed… “neither rain or snow or gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Now, you have to realize. There are not many high school athletes in the United States that have the brutal travel schedule of Wyoming.
Take for instance, the Bulldogs who had their first two away games… far away. The first was Rawlins at almost three hours one way and the next week they went to Kemmerer which was almost six hours one way. You do the math folks, our football team spent 18 hours on a SCHOOL BUS to play football games.
I can remember growing up and having to take bus rides to other schools in our conference. They were all usually in the same county or pretty close. If we had a 37-minute drive up to Port Washington from my hometown of Menomonee Falls, we would need therapy.
Then when I coached, even the trip to regionals or state were usually a few hours.
The kids here don’t complain. They come armed with pillows and blankets and ear buds and snacks. Lots of snacks.
One coach told me, “It’s not too bad if you were born here and it’s just something you always did growing up and now your kids get used to it growing up.”
But I wonder. Do you ever really. I mean REALLY get used to it?
And then there are the parent caravans who miss days of work. Not just a few hours off in the afternoon, but days to recover. And if there are overnight stays, there are costs. Food. There are costs. Gas… well, now there are really costs.
But I must say to my family and friends in the playing and coaching circles of Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota where I played and where I coached. You’d have to come here to experience it to believe it.
It’s a tough breed here. It’s a grateful nation here in Wyoming.
And. Not to mention, I’ve never seen a moose or a bear or a buffalo or an antelope on a bus ride in the Midwest. I mean… we have our challenges there, but I can’t imagine coaching kids who have been eating their own knees for six hours and then expect them to get out of that luxurious school motor coach to play in a three-hour football game or jump above an eight-foot net to spike a volleyball.
Only to finish and get back on the bus.
Hats off to the kids, the coaches, the parents, the administration and of course the bus drivers. I say this about so many things, but again it’s true.
ONLY in Wyoming.