Trip of Terror

By , Cheswick, PA
I walked through the Pittsburgh International Airport alone, looking for a familiar face, listening for a familiar voice, and repeating my gate number in my head. I had recently become a member of a traveling Junior Field Hockey Team called Team Golden Triangle. This weekend we were headed to sunny Florida for what would be our first tournament of the season. I hopped on a nearby people mover, almost tripping over a preoccupied business man’s suitcase, and headed toward my gate. As I neared G13 I saw a group of girls sitting on the floor in a circle in the same warm-up gear as I was wearing. Each was reclining on her own team issued duffel. I stepped off the people mover and walked towards the group of girls. Hardly any looked up from their laptops as I sat down but, everyone gave me a nod and a quick “hey 2-6”.
Our team was close knit and had been since day one of tryouts at which, the coaches made us run 3 miles as a team, followed by 3 sets of sprint ladders, and 3 sets of bleachers, all while screaming at us to go faster, run harder, and if necessary to avoid throwing up on the field.
The airport employee started boarding first-class flyers and everyone began to unplug their headphones and put away their laptops. When we were finally called to board we all got up slowly and meandered over to the gate to have our tickets checked. After pushing our way through the aisles of the plane we arrived at our seats, threw our duffels in the over head compartment and sat down for what would be an uneventful flight.

We arrived in Miami a couple of hours later and boarded a team bus that took us to a nearby Hyatt where we were each assigned roommates and given the schedule for the weekend. My roommate Clara was in her fourth year as a member of the team and was my defensive partner on the field. We made our way to our room me dragging both of our bags seeing as I was a newbie and she was a captain. The room was an average size with a desk, a bathroom, and a small kitchen, and I threw all of our gear in the small closet in the bathroom as I went to the refrigerator to grab a bottle of water. With my schedule in hand I sat on my bed and looked over our weekend. We were scheduled to be at the bus in 30 minutes so that the team could go to the practice facility for an afternoon practice. I let Clara use the bathroom first and when she was done I went in to change. As I was grabbing my shin guards and socks out of my duffel Clara told me that I had five minutes before we had to leave. Without thinking I slid my shin guards on and pulled up my socks. We made our way down to the front of the hotel with our stick bags and cleats in hand and boarded the bus. Practice was about 3 hours, and by the time we got back to the hotel everyone was exhausted and sweaty. The team had 1 hour to clean-up and meet again in a conference room to review some new corners and plays. Clara took her shower and got ready first as I sat in a chair reading my coaches notes. Clara came out of the bathroom, ready to go, and sat down on her bed. “Hey toss me your socks and shin guards and stuff before you go get your shower. I’m going to wash mine and I’ll wash yours too” she said to me. “Alright thanks” I said as I slid down my socks and un-velcroed my shin-guards, but as I began to try to slide the shin guards off I noticed that they wouldn’t budge. I made sure that they were unhooked and tried again but, once more they wouldn’t move. “Having some trouble? What kind of question is that? Of course you are. I mean glue is pretty hard to unstick once it’s dried” Clara said. I looked down at the shin guards and sure enough they had been glued to my legs. I had no idea what to do so, like a band-aid I got it over with and ripped them off fast, taking half of my skin with them. Convinced that the gluing was the full force of the hazing I would get, I got a quick shower and got dressed without worry. We headed to the meeting which took about an hour, and later, exhausted, we returned to our rooms. As I stepped off the elevator I immediately noticed that the hallway had become like a hotel room. There was a table and chairs, a mattress, a desk, and even a laptop sitting in the middle of the hallway. As I gawked at the scene another first year player named Maggie stepped off of the elevator. “NO, NO, NO “she said “please not me”. As she opened her door I heard her let out a sigh. “Jeez Louise” she said as she stared into her empty room. Another group of girls got off the elevator and laughed as they made their way to their rooms. I felt sorry for the girl, but she realized that she had to deal with it on her own, so I retreated to my room.

The team had a 3 hour break and then a voluntary film session before dinner. I decided to lie down for an hour and then head down to the gym with a group of teammates to work out before getting ready for the film session. Clara and I got a wakeup call for an hour later and I drifted to sleep only to be awoken what seemed like minutes later by the ringing of the phone. I got up, grabbed a water bottle, and headed to the gym. The workout was more of a social hour than an actual workout but, an hour later we all headed back to our rooms to get a shower. Clara was still asleep as I grabbed my towel and took my shower. I had a boat load of time after my shower so I decided to blow dry my hair. As I flipped my hair over in order to dry it, I noticed a white powder like material beginning to float toward the floor. I flipped my hair up only to find that the hair dryer had been filled with baby powder and my hair was now covered in it. I chastised myself as I rewashed my hair. I should have known that the glue wouldn’t be the end. As I exited the bathroom I saw Clara sitting at the desk on her laptop. “So, how was your shower? Cleansing?” she asked as I silently walked to the kitchen to grab some food. I left the room 15 minutes later to go to the film session vowing to be more cautious when I got back.

Two hours later I re-entered the room, Clara was getting ready for dinner and I grabbed a hoodie as we rushed out the door, trying to make it to the bus in time. By the time dinner had ended, and we had returned to the hotel it was late, and everyone was exhausted. I threw on some sweats and a t-shirt and flung myself onto my bed. I was so tired I could barely move. I mustered up enough energy to get myself under the covers, only to find that I had been short sheeted. Too tired to remake the bed, I grabbed a blanket and slept atop the covers. I woke up to a loud blaring voice and grabbed my phone. It was 3am, Clara was fast asleep with her Bose earphones and sleep-mask on, and the voice was still blaring. I noticed that the radio was missing and for the next 5 minutes searched the room to find the radio. It turned out that it was on the top shelf of a cabinet which took me an extra 10 minutes to figure out how to reach. All the while Clara slept soundly. Luckily for me the rest of the weekend went on without a hitch or another practical joke although, I can’t say as much for the other first year players who had to do a scavenge for their clothes and retrieve gear from a spinning ceiling fan.





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