Road trips forge lasting connections among student athletes

Road trips are an important part of what makes all the stress of collegiate sports worthwhile for student athletes. In addition to putting up with school itself, they also have to deal with a busy sports schedule. However, a business trip to Hawaii and San Diego for the Chico State volleyball team to open their season eased that stress.

“It was an amazing trip,” middle hitter Kim Wright said. “It was my first time in Hawaii and we were lucky to be able to actually enjoy some free time at the beach and at a luau. We didn’t play as well as we wanted to, but ultimately I am glad that it happened then as opposed to in conference. We figured some of our team dynamic stuff out, before it was detrimental to rankings.”

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The beginning of the season before conference play is an important time for students get to know each other as a team. This is an opportunity to make fun memories off the court and is an essential part of team building.

“The food was great, the views were great, and the entertainment was amazing,” Wright said of the team’s luau experience. “The best part was when we got our coach Tommy up on stage in a grass skirt and coconut bra, hula dancing!”

Having the time to hangout in the hotel room with teammates and eating meals together is what creates lifelong bonds. Battling in between the lines together is one thing, but actually being able to learn the true character of your teammates is something else entirely.

“Sometimes, it’s hard because you’re tired and want to sleep or you’re missing so much class so you have a lot of work to catch up on but all you end up doing is talking and hanging out with teammates,” Wright said.

“It’s crazy that we can spend that much time with each other and still want to spend more time with each other. The bond I share with my teammates is unlike any other relationship because we’ve just been through so much together. “

While in San Diego, Wright’s parents had the opportunity to host their daughter’s teammates to dinner in her hometown. It’s meaningful for athletes to have a piece of home with them as the college grind can become lonesome at times.

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“I always love when we go to players family’s houses on travel trips because it feels like a little slice of home wherever we are,” Wright said. “Obviously it’s really nice when you get to go to your own house, but anytime we’ve gone to other family’s houses, I’ve enjoyed myself too.”

A volleyball season can seem endless when having to share your time in so many places. The large amount of traveling, however sparks a collection of stories to share over dinner tables forever. An extra portion of time with those who know you best can carry a tireless student athlete through all the stressors on their minds.

Wesley Harris can be reached at [email protected] or @jiggy_wes on twitter.