By Greta Klein
Staff writer

The Hutchinson Community College softball team has a big chunk of its season on the road. During the March portion of their season, the team has traveled 2,500 miles on a bus. Meaning in the entire month, the Blue Dragons have been on a bus for 41 out of the 744 hours in a bus or 5% of that time on the bus.

That does not include the time to warm up and play the games, but that is a huge chunk of the month on the road. In hindsight, a trip from Seattle to Atlanta, driving one way, is 40 hours and 2,635 miles. Driving from San Francisco to Harrisburg, Pa., is 42 hours and 2,774 miles.

For March, the Blue Dragons face 10 road opponents on the schedule; spanning to Council Bluffs, Iowa and across the state of Kansas.

“The majority of our road games just happen to be primarily in the same month,” Blue Dragons coach Jaime Rose said. “We don’t have control over this, so we do not worry about it.”

Other teams could complain and make excuses about the long drives, but this group has chosen to look at this situation with a positive outlook. Even with things that are out of their control, energy has been a consistent variable in the player’s attitudes on and off the field.

“We do have control over the energy we bring to the game,” Rose said. “We have a very high expectation of this, and our athletes find a way to dig deep and bring that energy to every game.”

Many might think that being on a bus that much would get boring, but for this energetic group, that is not the case. The energy is not brought just on game days, but on the bus rides to the scheduled town they will be playing in.

To bring the energy on the road, the team adopted themed bus rides. Amongst the players the themed bus rides are a fun way to keep the morale of the team high on lengthy road trips.

“This month, since we have had away games for almost the whole month, we have been doing themes for the bus rides,” sophomore Tamara Lozoya said. “This helps us have fun and look forward to getting on the bus.”

Some themes that the team has participated in were crazy boxers, rally caps, crazy socks, and pajama pants.

The themed bus rides are not the only thing Hutch is doing to keep morale high.

“We also had our little concert in the back of the bus for fun,” Lozoya said. “You will see some people going to sit in other people’s seats so they can just sit and chat when they get bored.”

While the Blue Dragons have fun on the bus and the trips, the team is hard at work within the classroom too.

“All of these road trips are resulting in us missing a lot of classes,” Rose said. “However, the instructors have always been amazing to work with and our players do an excellent job of making sure they get their work done.”

Everyone on the team understands the importance of being a student-athlete.

“Our coaches do a very good job at making sure we know that we are students before we are athletes,” Lozoya said. “We have two study halls a week and those are helpful to get a lot of work done.”

No matter where or when, being studious is a high priority for this team.

“They are very diligent about studying on the bus and in the hotels,” Rose said. “I have even seen a few of them studying in restaurants when we stop to eat.”

While the team has mainly got through the long trips in their schedule, they continue to strive for greatness on and off the field.

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