|Week #8 - Worst Road Trip EVER (except for the wins)
Tuesday/Wednesday, Oct. 26-27
Thursday/Friday. Oct. 28-29
Since this was a trip where we got to fly, we didn't have to be up too early. Still, for a bunch of college guys 8:30 a.m. is not a time of day where you function correctly. Everyone was at the vans on time (and by on time I mean 10 minutes late) and we got to the airport with plenty of time to spare before our flight boarded. Terry (Boss) made sure to grab a handful of the ID fasteners as usual. He's pretty sneaky when it comes to using them to attach to the zippers on your backpack so you can't open it. When we got to the airline counter the lady stood up, got all our attention, and let us know that our flight had been delayed. This delay would be substantial enough to make us miss our connecting flight in Chicago. Instead of our flight leaving at 10:00 a.m., it had been bumped back to noon. That was a lie because I think we left around 12:30 p.m. That's a lot of time in the bustling Tulsa International Airport. To pass the time our athletic trainer Brandon pulled out his laptop and showed us some random videos. He had everything from cats running into walls to guys breaking their legs.
We finally got in the air and to Chicago. Since we had missed our connecting flight we had a lot of time in Chicago as well. We ate at the Fox Sports Bar, or something like that. Nice choice coach. Your choices included a hamburger or a chicken sandwich, both for $11 bucks. The service could not figure it out that we were all together. Is it really that difficult? I think the fact that none of them spoke English played a big role in the problem. After another lengthy wait in the airport we were off to Bloomington, Illinois. I know you all know where that is. Our flight was about 15 minutes late. We boarded and the captain came on and said we would be delayed because they were waiting for some of the baggage to be put on board. I went to sleep and woke up 45 minutes later to find out that we hadn't taken off yet. After another 15 minutes we took off and made the quick 26-minute flight. We got there and circled once because of low visibility. Then the captain came on and said that due to the continued low visibility and fuel constraints, we would have to turn around and go back to Chicago. This was frustrating because of the day we had already experienced and the fact that planes seem to fly themselves these days anyway, and the thought that a 26-minute flight probably didn't sap all our fuel.
We got back to Chicago and had to wait around for a very long time while the airline dealt with everyone on board. We found a place to huddle together. Some of the guys played poker for a while. Some of the guys sat in front of the arrival/departure screens so it looked like people were staring at them constantly. Then someone had a brilliant idea. They threw down some change and tried to predict who would pick it up. It was really obvious but somehow we were entertained. Some women across the hall figured out what we were doing and would encourage little kids to pick it up. The McDonald's was also a hot spot, as everyone on the team suddenly wanted an ice cream cone. Gotta love that airport price jump. The 50-cent ice cream costs $1.50. Terry put it on his credit card and I thought that was really funny.
The airline told us we would have to spend the night and fly out the next morning. We walked outside and there was an awesome Hilton Hotel right across the street. Were we staying there? Nope! We had to get on a shuttle to our hotel. They gave us $5 gift certificates for the hotel restaurant. Too bad the cheapest meal was $15. This place had nothing truly normal on the menu. No one knew what to order. A few guys went with the Turkey Pot Pie. Lawson (Vaughn) chose the scallops, while Terry and (Kyle) Forthaus got the chicken, and it ended up being a tiny piece of chicken between two giant slices of pineapple. No one did anything but go to sleep after a night like that.
We woke up that morning and headed back to the airport. (Matt) Wiley received the hardcore frisking as he did all trip because he forgot his federal issue ID. Our flight was delayed about 20 minutes or so, but just the fact that it took off at some point was good enough for us. We arrived in Bloomington, got in the vans, and drove to Eastern Illinois. We hopped out and had about an hour and a half before our game. The referees were declaring the game field unplayable right as we arrived. Instead we would be playing on their practice field. We walked the quarter mile or so out to the "field". We found Jimmy Joe Bob riding his tractor at a feverish pace trying to get the grass down to an acceptable level. His plaid cut off shirt and trucker hat made him look like a member of the "Blue Collar" comedy tour. (Brian) McCurdy kept requesting to wake up. It really was unreal. The field we warmed up on was so bumpy and muddy that you couldn't really do anything. You would control the ball on your fourth attempt, and have to gingerly turn in place to do anything with the ball. We moved over to the field once they were done mowing and it wasn't much better. It was so bumpy that you couldn't dribble. Ryan and Scott's (Kincaid) dads made it out to the game and I can't imagine what they were thinking as they walked up to the field. Some of the Eastern Illinois fans brought out tree stumps to the sideline to sit on. Where is this place?!
The game definitely was not pretty. With all that traveling, I remember thinking after 15 minutes that I would not make it the whole game. Everyone loosened up a bit in the second half, but it was still so hard to put passes together and get anything going. We managed to hit the crossbar and the posts a couple of times. They got off one good shot and their goalkeeper hit it over our goal on one bounce. Finally, in the first overtime, their goalkeeper came out and knocked Ryan's legs out from under him. The referee tried to call a free kick outside of the box at first, and our coaches went ballistic. One coach was headed to the referee while the other coach was headed to the linesman. It was the goalkeeper that got Ryan after all. They changed it to a penalty kick and Ryan put it away. We won and were merry. We persevered through a lot to win that game and it was a real boost to pull it off. We drove to Peoria that night and got some much needed sleep- eventually.
Saturday, Oct. 30
Sunday, Oct. 31