A part of any high school student’s athletic experience is traveling to an away game. By the time the team arrives, they are expected to be game ready.
A large part of an athlete’s execution comes from the preparation before the game even starts. Most of Leesville’s sports teams take a bus for transportation. On this ride, players partake in different rituals or past times to prepare themselves for a successful game.
“I listen to music and try to stay to myself, so I’m in a calm mind state. It’s important to not be tense on the bus ride and just to enjoy myself. Some of my teammates may take quick naps to recharge before a big game,” said Ryan Welton, senior varsity soccer player.
For an athlete, an away game symbolizes much more than just another game. It is a chance to prove something to the other team.
“An away game is a big deal. You have to prove you can take your talents to another team’s home field and beat them. An away game is never guaranteed, and it’s always great to win on the road,” said Baldwin Bell, senior varsity football player.
Therefore, the atmosphere on the bus ride towards a game is valued as a representative of how the team will do in the game. A focused bus leads to a focused team, but one that is distracted will not lead to good game play.
“The bus ride is pretty calm — a lot more serious than people may think. Everyone is getting in the zone and is getting focused on the task at hand,” said Welton.
The preparation on the bus ride is meant to mentally prepare an athlete for the game ahead, but it also represents much more than that. Megan Farrell, senior varsity volleyball player, said, “We win together, lose together and ride the bus together. It is a bonding experience that brings our team closer together.”