Bus necessities and sleeping hacks: college student-athletes’ vacation strategies

Portraits of St. Thomas College Men’s Volleyball player Mason Brewster and Women’s Hockey participant Natalie Mackay. (Submitted: Keith Minchin)

For college college student-athletes, the bus vacation to away games is no international thought. Ranging from small, a person-hour rides to Saint John, or long treks to Antigonish, N.S., Mason Brewster and Natalie MacKay are acquainted with them all. 

In his next 12 months on the men’s volleyball staff, Brewster experienced traveled with his higher university volleyball workforce in advance of, but on shorter excursions close to his hometown of Bathurst. Now, his longest journey with STU is almost eight several hours to Church Position, N.S., to just take on the Université  Sainte-Anne Dragons. 

He finds the bus journeys to be “the fantastic time” to get homework carried out. He’ll split his time carrying out function, then taking breaks and chatting with teammates. Some convey gaming consoles, like a Nintendo Switch, even though other people will play group games on their phones. 

“Usually the guys are truly energized the full way,” said Brewster. “I feel this is definitely a staff that’s been the most loud on the bus, which I love.”

Although staying more than 6 feet tall makes sleeping challenging, he’s uncovered the great position of leaning from the window and putting his legs on the headrest of the seat across the aisle. 

“If somebody has to go to the rest room, they’ll have to climb more than us or go underneath our legs,” he explained. 

Just one of his favorite reminiscences touring with the crew is when they didn’t have entry to a bus and have been getting the subway about Montréal throughout a preseason vacation. 

[Head coach] Henri was jogging towards the bus cease … it was a connecting bus and we still had men on the escalator, so he was telling us ‘Run! Run! Operate!’,” stated Brewster. “[Austin Hamilton] bought in and his bag got stuck, so we had to rip the doorway open up so we could get his bag out.”

Touring to away video games can improve the pregame schedule, but Brewster tries not to overthink. 

“There’s a large amount of pressure when it comes to if it is an vital game,” he mentioned. “I test to get 45 minutes just to pay attention to songs and lock in.”

Obtaining on the bus for a lengthy vacation back again is challenging just after a loss, said Brewster, nevertheless energy picks up yet again as the crew stops for foods and procedures the activity.  

“If we won, I like getting on the bus. It is the ideal issue at any time, I’d somewhat be on the bus than just go residence,” he stated. “If we shed … the energy’s down and everyone’s peaceful.”

Natalie MacKay of the STU women’s hockey team feels otherwise, expressing the trip right after a rough sport can aid her team. 

“We’re equipped to form of cope with the reduction with each other and not make light of the scenario, but replicate on what took place and then shift on extremely rapidly,” she explained. 

Although just after house games gamers may leave immediately right after post-sport speeches and cool down, she feels that on the bus, the team is capable to process the loss alongside one another. 

“When you are on the bus, you are capable to talk to people and reassure that we’re still a staff and that we’re all continue to jointly and a loved ones,” reported MacKay. “We still adore and enjoy every other.”

MacKay is recognized among her teammates for obtaining finding out carried out on the bus, whilst several other people battle because of to car or truck sickness or boredom. She places her laptop computer on her legs, leans from the back window and it’s time to “get to work.”

“I discover I get a large amount of function carried out on the bus truly, for the reason that I really do not usually give myself other issues to do,” explained MacKay. “If I do give myself other items to do, I get bored of them pretty easily.”

Although some may fuss more than pillows or blankets, Mackay’s bus critical is a slumber mask. 

“I will forever deliver an eye mask,” she explained. “The home windows in there are really vivid and the sunlight shines by means of quite evidently.”

The ahead from Truro, N.S. had confined workforce vacation right before coming to STU, but one particular of her standout recollections was touring to WickFest in Calgary.

“It was genuinely cool traveling to another province on a aircraft as a younger lady in feminine sport and having to see Hayley Wickenheiser,” claimed MacKay. “I will hardly ever fail to remember that memory.”