Looking from afar at student athletes with plane tickets in their hands and destinations on their minds, an ordinary student who loves to travel might consider trying out for a team.
The PLNU men’s baseball team typically travels throughout California and to Hawaii and Utah, but the places they travel to depends on the year. Aside from in-state travels, they’ll be making a 10-day trip to Hawaii this year, during which they’ll play on two different islands, Oahu and The Big Island.
PLNU men’s baseball head coach, Joe Schaeffer, says that the guys will have a couple of days off from playing games and practicing, during which they’ll get to explore the area.
“The last time we went out there was 2016,” says Schaeffer. “Hilo’s got a lot of natural scenery like caves, a lot of waterfalls, little rivers, and stuff like that. So we just drove around the area a little bit.”
Schaeffer says some guys in 2016 made a trip to Pearl Harbor, some went to Waikiki Beach, and they even made a trip to a volcano in Hilo.
Jonathan Scott, the PLNU women’s volleyball head coach, says his team also got to travel to Oahu and The Big Island, as well as to Utah and throughout California this year. He says they try to do one memorable activity per trip such as cruising around the cities they travel to, but he says the best times are when the team is just hanging out together.
“We like to do minute to win it type competitions,” Scott says. “We do different bonding type games.”
Both coaches, Schaeffer and Scott, say that there’s a lot of planning and organization that goes into the trips. They both plan out very detailed itineraries and make hotel and transportation arrangements well ahead of time.
However, traveling for sports isn’t a mini vacation. Most of the time spent on these trips is allotted to practice and games, and the teams spend a couple hours on the road doing homework.
“We definitely consider these travel trips business trips,” Scott says. “We do try to get a little bit of fun in there, but really the quote ‘fun’ is playing volleyball and just being in our community with one another.”
Hayley Damon, a freshman defensive specialist on the PLNU women’s volleyball team, says, “I feel like people glorify college sports a lot, but it’s really hard.”
Damon says that with the time spent traveling, it’s imperative to learn time-management. Damon spends all hours of her weekdays in class, at practice, or doing homework, and she makes sure she gets to bed early so she’s ready to do it all over again.
However, she enjoys every minute of it.
“I just like doing it with my team because we’re all best friends,” Damon says.
Written by Jamie Pedersen.