Taking off and going on road trips with friends is as much a part of the college experience as mystery meat in the cafeteria and suffering through class with Friday morning hangovers. Equipped with a known destination, map, slushies, and an unquenchable hunger for cobbler, road trips define who you are, where you’re going, and where you’ve been.
During the past four years, participation in road trips have helped mold and shape not only myself, but also each individual that has dug up their proverbial roots and taken a chance to hit America’s highways and by-ways.
Thumbing through the mental rolodex where memories of road trips gone by are saved, I’m reminded of the football trip to Maryland. Four guys rolling into the nation’s capital in the “Costello Skull Van” all in the name of Catamount gridiron glory and Dunkin’ Doughnuts.
Also filed behind the football revelations tab, the Baton Rouge/ New Orleans escapade of 2000 flashes back with a vengeance. Who’d forget the “Ms. Cleo” waitress who remembered your order from the day before verbatim – right down to the hot chocolate with whipped cream.
Wrap up the LSU excursion with some Pauly Shore/ Howard Stern cross-dressers, liquid grenades, and exploding cars on the freeway, and it’s fair to say that everyone grew just a little bit in the 100 degree heat.
Flipping past the rest to the ‘S’ tab brings back memories from not long ago… Travels to Charleston for soccer were rewarding. Being the first visiting radio broadcast in College of Charleston press box history to viewing history in the form of naval ships at Patriot’s Point made this road trip special.
Rewinding back to the second tab in the rolodex of the mind, the most recent trips involving the Catamount basketball teams and “THE” FANS are what college is all about. Either traveling with the team or taking scenic, although dark, short-cuts through Gaston County to get back to Davidson – or around your elbow to get to your posterior crevice, in laymens terms – this basketball season has been what college is truly about.
As has been the case in the other trips to opposing venues, our vocal efforts to back a team that is so close yet so far away, but is getting better every day, have sparked the interest of innocent bystanders of the homestanding team.
Thus was the case in Greenville against Furman; likewise Monday night as the Cats led most of the way but came up just a tad bit short thanks to cold shooting and a trio of zebra-striped whistles. Fan support from visitors invokes reaction, which in turn creates a true college experience at games.
Even when the final horn sounded, and the Catamounts were on the short-end of the 69-63 tally, our support never faded; even when the one Wildcat cheerleader, who according to “the Doctor” was “hot,” turned redder than her cheer uniform, we maintained our dignity.
And even when a DC student in attendance decked out in a three-piece gray suit with matching trench coat tried to belittle our enthusiasm for the purple and gold, the dedication just kept on.
“But didn’t y’all lose tonight?” Thanks, sparky, for that analysis of the high school gym scoreboards… But it just doesn’t matter. It’s simply a game and we had a blast – our only concern.
Perhaps I should have posed a question to the Yuppie Guru of Charlottean Suburbia… Why on the front row of the seats there in the Belk Arena did the numbers run, “1…2…2…4?” Have something against the number three? I’ve heard it’s the favorite digit of Seasme Street’s “Count.”
Regardless, the trip went smoothly despite the imitation cobbler served at Lone Star. I tasted a hint of cow seasoning amongst the “fruity dumplings.” Guess everything doesn’t taste bigger and better in Texas.
In the end, there’s something to be said for returning to the beautiful Cullowhee Valley in its peaceful and serene state which can only be attained in the early AM hours after returning from a road trip.
Through half-opened, sleep-filled eyes, trying to stretch out kinked-up legs and shake off the dust from the road, there’s only one thought on my half-awake mind: “Isn’t college great?”