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Life on the road can be pretty grueling for student-athletes. Lacrosse being a mostly East Coast sport means most of the women’s lacrosse team’s away trips come via Abbot Trailways and their buses. The familiar white bus with blue block lettering was waiting for us Saturday morning – just like every other road trip. And like all the others, this trip began with “start a count!” Once we hit 25 we know we’re ready hit the road.

The bus ride today from Charlottesville to Baltimore, Md., takes approximately three hours and 16 minutes. For our girls, that means three hours and 16 minutes of boredom. With the trip being a day trip, it means NO SLEEPING ON THE BUS. In an effort to keep the girls alert and fresh for game time, we mandate that they stay awake for the whole trip. So what is there to do for three hours with 30 players?

Well, our first stop was Bodos, for lunch. Another rule for long road trips is NOTHING FUNKY. That means no tuna, Caesar salads, whitefish or anything else that might assault our senses for the next three hours. Bodos for pregame meal runs like a well-oiled machine and we managed to be in and out in 20 minutes or so. We load the bus and do another count, but not before Julie buys the squad 15 boxes of Girl Scout cookies from a troop table outside (for AFTER the game of course). We picked up HD (assistant coach Heather Dow) in Ruckersville and off we were for the long haul to Baltimore.

Now, three hours is a long time to sit on a bus- especially when you can’t sleep. Luckily for us, we have many options to help pass the time. If you were a UVa lacrosse player here are some things you might have done to pass the time:

1. Homework – It’s mid-term time so many girls are gearing up for papers or exams
2. Read a book – I was shocked to learn that seven of our players are currently reading some book about vampires. It’s like the Virginia Lacrosse book club.
3. Text message – this is pretty continuous for everyone.
4. Watch a movie – “Y” splitter is a must so you can watch with the teammate sitting next to you.
5. iPod – I’m fairly certainly that every single player brings their iPod. Rocking out is the pastime of choice for most of our girls.
6. Read a magazine – This could be anything from Rolling Stone to US weekly to Lacrosse Magazine.
7. Puzzles – Favorites are Sodoku, crosswords, hangman, and anything else we can think of.
8. Play a game – Some go-to games include Charades, Catchphrase and “Would You Rather.”
9. Prank assistant coach Colleen Shearer – but only if you dare.
10. Try to sleep – DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT. (It’s my job to patrol the aisles and I’m watching! And I don’t buy that you’re just “resting your eyes” so WAKE UP!)

If you’ve exhausted all of the aforementioned options it’s time to be creative and make up your own game. This is where things begin to get interesting. Our girls have been known to play “Who’s the best singer?” “Who has the best accent?” “Guess the song I’m mouthing from my iPod” and “What’s that smell?”

Today I sat in the back and watched a fun game called “Can You Guess Who’s Name is on Your Forehead?” (not sure if that’s the formal name but you get the idea). In this game, everyone has the name of a celebrity written on a piece of tape on their forehead. You’re allowed to ask yes or no questions to figure out who’s on your forehead. Some folks got their celebrities pretty fast like Ash Mac who had Barrack Obama. Other’s struggled to guess Hulk Hogan (really Jen Holden?) and Helen Keller (tough one Katie Shannon). Others got lured off track like Molly Millard – who we learned does NOT think Lebron James is cute. The panel apparently disagreed which led her on a wild goose chase guessing other “cute” basketball players.

That game took the better part of an hour and before we knew it we had arrived at Loyola. After a shortened warm-up due to the men’s game before us running long, our girls came out tough and ready to play. Another strong performance led to another victory and what looked like a lot of fun. After a midweek win against Virginia Tech, we were ecstatic to start the season 2-0.

After the game, the Hackman’s welcomed us into their home where the parents were busy setting out trays of all the tailgate staples like chicken parmesan, lasagna, meatballs, fruit and pasta salad, cake (lots of cake) and, because we were in Maryland, crab dip and crab legs. My favorite today was a delicious concoction of chicken, cheese and broccoli – courtesy of our tailgate captain Mrs. Shannon. Luckily for me, there were plenty of leftovers to take home.

Exhausted and bellies full, the bus is quiet now as most are finally taking advantage of what they’ve been deprived of all day – sleep. After that game I could use a nap myself, to be honest. Good night and thanks for reading! Tune in next week for more adventures with women’s lacrosse! Go Hoos!


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