October 7, 2005

Hitting the Road With My Team

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SOMEWHERE BETWEEN ITHACA AND ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The men’s basketball team at Kansas takes its “road” trips on a private jet, complete with personal DVD players on every seat and a buffet that includes pieces of cheese cut in the shape of Jayhawks.

We on the Cornell sprint football team travel a little less pimped out. We ride a Swarthout coach bus and get bagged lunches from Shortstop Deli. At least they come with those huge chocolate chip cookies – they’re amazing.

Why do I mention all this? Because as I write this column, I am on my way down to Annapolis, Md., for a game which will take place tomorrow. Well, today for all of you readers.

But, right now, our minds are not on football. Because, just as half the fun of a vacation is getting to the destination, half the fun of a road game is the bus ride down.

So, right now, we have more important things to worry about than slant patterns and zone coverages such as what movie we will watch first. The bus with all the offensive players, which is the one I am riding on, opted for Anchorman, a personal favorite. Yet, the next choice, Black Hawk Down, was not as much of a hit. Too much blood and gore, even for a bunch of football players.

I’ll say one thing, it was better than last year, when a player (I will not reveal his name because I want to spare him the embarrassment), bought I’m Gonna Git You Sucka at a rest stop, an old classic starring Jim Brown.

But, movies are just one of the concerns.

“Who farted, dammit,” said the grossed-out freshman.

“Shut up, rookie. Stop complaining,” said the flatulent upperclassman.

Yet, the bus ride is not all fun and games on what will be close to a seven-hour trip. It’s Thursday as I write (for you readers it is Friday), and some guys who were supposed to take tests this evening at school, will be taking them tonight at the hotel after dinner.

Luckily, I got to take my prelim before we left this morning, so baseball will be the only thing I need to occupy my time with at the hotel.

Speaking of baseball, my coach just notified me, after a prior conversation in the morning, that there are only two players in professional baseball from Long Island (where I reside in the off-season and a place which my coach loves to make fun of). He tells me that one of the players is Tony Graffanino of the Boston Red Sox, who may be going into Bill Buckner territory in Red Sox Nation after his error led to a three-run home run by Tadahito Iguchi of the White Sox on Wednesday night. Serves him right for playing in New England.

But, these are the types of stories you hear on the road. During the rest of the year, you see everyone during the daily grind, but on the road, there is time for stories. It is a time for a team to gel. Sure, I could be on my way home right now for fall break like many of my friends. But I have been given a golden opportunity to be a 5-6, 170-pound college football player – as have 60 or so other guys that made the trip. And even though Navy pounded us at home two weeks ago, 41-0, we still relish the opportunity to be here. Because it’s not about the game, it’s about the experience.

Man, this is a really, really long trip.

Well, at least it seems like we are making some progress. Actually, I’m wrong – we’ve made it to progress. Progress, Penn., that is. Oh well, at least they put Tommy Boy on.

Chris Mascaro is the Sun Sports Editor. He May Be Tall will appear every other Friday this semester.

Archived article by Chris Mascaro