Riding the bus home: a waste of time or team bonding experience?

Sierra Snavely, Staff Writer

Although many coaches prefer that student athletes should ride the bus or van home with their team after out-of-town games, I believe that students should have the option to choose to ride home with their parents.

Depending on the sport, some games take longer than others, such as in baseball and softball. The first game doesn’t start until 4:30 p.m. and the second game is played once the first game is completed, with a 10-minute break in between. Each time they play, it’s a doubleheader, meaning two games. In my opinion, that really cuts down on the time that the student-athlete has to do homework or study that night. More often than not, riding the bus home makes for a late night. At the high school, they now have changed most paper assignments to electronic ones, depending on Chromebooks to get it done. The accessibility of wifi while on the bus is rather rare, making it extremely difficult for students to work on homework.

On another note, buses very rarely stop for students to use a bathroom and/or to get something to eat, making it even more difficult to concentrate. “I usually let the students ride home with their parents to get a good meal,” says boy’s tennis coach, Dan Berg. When you are on the road headed home from another town, the option of stopping and grabbing a meal is one of very slim chance, especially when you have more than one team. Riding home with parents provides a greater chance of being able to eat.

Some coaches believe that riding the bus with teammates helps them bond better and get to know each other more. This is a good idea in theory, but nine times out of ten, the students are on their phones or sleeping. This is coming from a student-athlete.

Iola High School’s varsity softball coach, Chris Weide, says, “I think all players should ride home from games on the bus. It allows more time to bond with their teammates. It allows time for them to celebrate their wins and deal with their mistakes and their losses throughout the year. It may also save them from the dreaded talk about the game performance with their toughest critics, their parents.”

On the other hand, “I prefer to ride home with my parents because I like to talk to them about the games. Also, if we were to have a bad night playing, feelings on the bus would be running high among everyone,” says freshman Breanna Northcutt.

Both sides of the debate have valid points, but I still believe that it should be something voted upon by the team to allow the players to make their own choices so that they can choose which they believe is more important to them.