ARTICLE OF THE DAY

ECU Travel Nightmares
by Josh Spence
4/21/05

Did you ever have one of those days when you find yourself asking  "what else could go wrong?"  Lately that's been the most common phrase heard on the road with the East Carolina baseball team.  The travel complications to endure have been ridiculous, and as of Sunday night they don't appear to be finished.

It all started on the team's first conference series of the year against Tulane, the first plane trip of the year.  The Pirates were scheduled to fly from Raleigh to Tampa, and then connect on a flight to New Orleans.  We arrived in Tampa on schedule, but quickly received word that there would be a delay.  Our plane was coming from Ft. Lauderdale, but had not been cleared for takeoff due to severe weather in the area.  A one-hour scheduled layover turned into five.  The trouble continued when we arrived to New Orleans.  The bus that showed up to haul the team around reminded me of the one from the movie "Major League".  Much of the team's luggage had to be put on the floor inside the bus, as the stowaway compartment was too small. 

The coaches quickly made arrangements for a new bus service, however the next morning the bus showed up two hours late to take the team to breakfast.  A trend was beginning, one thing after the other.  This eventually cost the bus service the price of the team's pre-prepared breakfast they weren't able to attend, and also the right to bus them around the rest of the weekend.  Arrangements were made to bring a new bus down, all the way from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. 

Keep in mind, when the team is on the road they have a schedule to attend to that doesn't leave much room for error.  The next plane trip was to Fort Worth, Texas to play the Horned Frogs.  Everything was on schedule on the way down, and seemed to be in order on the way back.  Flying to and from Raleigh always leaves us with a one and a half hour bus ride on the way home.  This usually puts us in Greenville around 1:30 or 2 in the morning.  This time I remember thinking, wow we are going to be early.  Man was I wrong, our flight made it to Raleigh fine, but apparently the luggage didn't.  We waited another couple of hours for subsequent flights to come in which had most, but not all of the luggage.

Plane trip three, Louisville, KY.  Just this past Thursday the team was scheduled to meet at Scales field house at 6 AM, to catch an early flight in Raleigh.  The team showed up, but the bus didn't.  Coaches scrambled, considering loading up in several of ECU's vans to go to Raleigh.  Instead, we waited on a different bus, but of course by the time we arrived in Raleigh we had missed our flight.  This forced the team to split up and take separate airlines.  We all reconvened in Louisville, only to find that the bus waiting on us was again too small.  By the end of the weekend we had two buses carting us around.

Finally on the way home Sunday night we got on the bus in Raleigh headed for G-Vegas. That's when we learned that the heat on the bus was broken, and there was no way to turn it off.  It was so hot on the bus, the players had their shirts off (and some of them their pants) pressing themselves against the windows to stay as cool as possible.

On the bright side, all of the unfortunate travel problems have given the team more down time with each other, which seems to have brought them closer together.  After all, nothing brings people closer than a common goal, or a common enemy.

Josh Spence
josh@pirateradio1250.com