Manchester University
Oak Leaves

October 25, 2019

Food, Teammates Make Life on the Road Tolerable

Erica Mohr


An early morning alarm goes off: you roll over, wanting to slam the snooze button but knowing you set it for the last possible minute. You crawl out of bed, throw on a ratty sweatshirt, and eat the closest thing to a heathy breakfast you can find. You walk over to the PERC, load the bus with all the equipment, and board the bus for yet another long ride. This story is a reality for many student athletes at Manchester.

 Living on the road means spending lots of quality time with teammates. The golf, cross country, football, and soccer team have all traveled three and a half hours for tournaments; and then they still have to compete and drive three and a half hours back to campus. This leaves for lots of times for the athletes to form friendships while on the road. “The road trips absolutely help us form better bonds as a team,” said Nathan Hunley, a junior on the men’s soccer team.

Of course, the trip back depends on how the teams compete. “If you lose and you’ve got a long bus ride back, it’s pretty rough but if you get a win it’s pretty nice,” Hunley said.

Spending such a large amount of time on the road can affect a student-athlete’s college experience. “Freshman year I was really excited about traveling and long meets, but now that I’m used to it, I think it heavily affects my social life,” said Kelsey Tyler, a sophomore on the cross-country team. “It’s hard to be close with people off of the team because everyone hangs out with each other on weekends, and we don’t have a free weekend because we need to use our free time to catch up on school and sleep.”

Reid Kammerdiener, a senior defensive lineman on the football team, agreed. “I don’t really talk to anyone all weekend,” he said. “Pretty much on Friday and Sunday I’m locked in my room dead tired and Saturday I’m not around because I’m at games. So, it affects my social life because being that I don’t go out and do anything on the weekends.”

Mary McGuire, a sophomore on the golf team, offered up how she makes sure she’s able to maintain her relationship with non-teammates. “I had to do a lot of reaching out to my friends to make sure we stayed up to date with each other,” she said.

Although some students use the weekend to catch up on homework, student athletes do not have the luxury of 48 straight hours to do this. While one may guess that they catch up on homework on the long bus rides, that is not usually the case.

Hunley, Tyler, Kammerdiener and McGuire all agreed that they very rarely did homework on the bus, all citing various reasons. “I get headaches and stuff if I work on homework while on a moving vehicle,” Hunley said.

Tyler said: “I get too distracted by everyone else and I’m just in a more nervous environment.” When on the road, student-athletes have a variety of different delicacies to fuel them for their competitions. The golf team often eats out at Steak and Shake or Papa John’s pizza and gets provided with snacks such as fruit or Pringles. “The best part of the road trip is the free food,” McGuire joked.

The football team gets snacks before the game and afterwards is given food from local restaurants after the game. The soccer team often goes out for Mexican meals to Salsa Grille, and if it is a long trip, they get pre-made sandwiches. Lastly, the cross-country team will get pre-race snacks such as peanut butter and jelly, fruit, chips and granola bars. When they go on overnight trips, they usually eat somewhere like Olive Garden the night before, and they usually eat Subway after their race.