Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Bonding on road trips

For the last two weekends, Whitman baseball has been on the road, first in Los Angeles and more recently in McMinnville.
Road trips bring teams together.   Despite all of the practices and games, teams spend very little time together as an entire team: maybe a once-a-week dinner or something similar.   Traveling together in one bus becomes team time.

Bus rides are the time to circle around a group of seats and swap stories, tell jokes, rib each other and laugh.   Then we all crash: fall asleep or listen to Dashboard Confessional or think about what tasty treat we’ll be buying at the Biggs convenience store.   (As an aside, the consumption in pounds of weird food on road trips is astonishing.   I have personally seen various people consume the following items in one sitting: a stick of beef jerky taller than the person eating it, four energy drinks and one packet of gum, an entire tub of gooey orange slice candy and a party tray: 20+ pieces: of pre-cooked sushi.)

But every once in a while road trips assume a whole different feel to them, when they transcend just travel: whose consummation is the destination: and become a journey or, better, an experience.

Our trip to McMinnville became an experience through our driver’s sheer force of personality.

Let me describe this man.   Imagine a kind of doughy Einstein dressed like an out-of-work lumberjack.   He had this frizzy ‘fro of white hair that stood on end, wore a lot of flannel and sported very big feet.   Just take Ronald McDonald minus the makeup and clown clothes and replace his wig with the hair from Professor Dave Glenn’s head.

This man turned our Linfield tournament trip into an adventure single-handedly.

I guess I should have known things were going to take a turn for the bizarre when my first: and not last: interaction with the bus driver went something like this:
Me (stepping on the bus at 8:30 in the morning): “Good Morning.”
Bus Driver (fiddling around with some kind of GPS system in his lap): “Do you know what street Linfield is on?”
Me: “No, sorry, I mostly just sleep.”
Him: “Just name the street.   Any street near there.   I just need one street.   Whichever of the streets is closest.   JUST ONE.”

He talked incredibly fast, and the desperate tone of his voice was unrivaled.   It was pretty clear that he was uncomfortable with the rigors of the job, which was odd because he seemed so aloof.   One minute so desperate to know where we were going.   And the next he was off the bus, wandering around the legs of the red, yellow and blue McDonald’s PlayPlace statue, gazing up at it like a tourist at the base of the David.   He constantly explored his surroundings, sauntering hands-in-pockets and just kind of peeping his head around corners and lazily gazing up at something or off somewhere.

At least one person remarked early in the trip that it appeared our driver was “off his rocker,” and that was before he stalled our bus in the parking lot before Saturday’s game.   The engine didn’t turn over because it was out of gas: a circumstance which was not his fault; he chalked it up as mere happenstance.

So we arrived at our game not only late but cramped from being shuffled around between parents’ cars and unceremoniously stuffed into backseats.   (Chad Frisk and I, by virtue of being the smallest, shared a lovely country drive squished in the cab of a late-model Ford Ranger.   It built character.)

To make matters worse, this guy nodded off briefly a couple of times on the trip home, swerving slightly each time.   It was enough to make a grave-faced Adam Knappe turn to me and explicitly say what everyone else was thinking: “This man is insane.”

Insane or not, he was certainly an experience.   A legend whose story the oral tradition of the baseball team (the jokes and stories on the road) will tell for a few more years.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Whitman Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *