Van Rides, Bus Rides and Flights, Oh My!



Where are the best memories made when traveling with your team? What stories seems to take on a life of their own? What do you learn when you travel?


For the answer to these and other crucial questions, please read on.


Over my many years of coaching at the college level, we’ve used every means of transportation you can imagine. Back in the old days we always traveled in 15-passenger vans that were loaded to the gills with players, equipment, food and memories. Those vans were the choice of many programs back then because they were the most cost-effective way to travel. We took it to another level with roof racks (another topic, I promise) and eventually trailers.


Safety concerns and changing sensibilities have made the 15-passenger vans a thing of the past for many college programs, but the memories we made on those spartan trips will last a lifetime. Something about squeezing too many people and too much stuff into a too small space created an environment where memories were created.


What is my favorite memory from those early days? There are too many to list, but many revolve around discussions about music, or movies, or boyfriends or life.  The names have to be changed to protect the innocent, and the guilty, but the stories are all true.  


The classic movie, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” has nothing on the real world experiences of many a softball player or coach. Am I a little jealous now that some schools even get to charter flights for their road trip? Of course, I am!! But I’ll never forget all I gained from all those miles tooling down the highway!


About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.