ON THE ROAD TO SALEM, VA -- The Williams College men's basketball team elected to bus to Salem rather than fly due to the arrival of winter storm Stella in the northeast.
Eph head coach Kevin App explained why the team opted to drive rather than fly noting, "We looked at all the options for flights and they all had our team traveling in different groups and not getting to Salem earlier than we would by bus."
"We did a 10-hour ride earlier in the year when we went to Mount Union in Ohio for a tournament and that worked out pretty well," App added.
Shortly after the bus left the Williams campus App looked around the bus and said, "Another good thing about leaving early in the morning is all of the players will sleep the first 3-4 hours." The first to fall asleep on the bus, however, was Morgan App, the coach's 5-month old daughter who did not make it out of Williamstown awake.
|Dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings|
Driver Bob Spaulding left the team near the New Jersey state line as he was relieved by Steve Lewis who would be the Ephs driver to Salem and back again to the same point on the way home.
After the driver switch, which many of the players did not notice as they remained fast asleep coach App took out his laptop and watched some video of Augustana.
The sun was trying to fight its way through the thick cloud cover as the bus went ever south in New Jersey. The road was now just slightly damp, allowing the opportunity to make good progress.
Heading down I-78 into Pennsylvania a decision was made that a lunch stop would occur around 12:30.
When the time came for lunch the bus was directed to pull into a WaWa in – wait for it – Hamburg, Pa.
When the bus re-joined I-78 the road was caked with long stretches of hard packed snow and Steve Lewis informed all that the road had been closed last night. A few miles later the road cleared of the crusted icy surface, but now there were flashing signs warning of blowing and drifting snow caked.
At this time The Lord of the Rings video was put on the bus video system. Shortly after that the road conditions improved and while the wind was blowing on and off there was no drifting snow to contend with.
Either tonight or first thing tomorrow morning a total of nine Eph players would be taking midterm examinations as the Williams academic calendar is heading into Spring Break at the end of classes on Friday.
By the time The Lord of the Rings video ended the team had entered Virginia and the sun was shining and in places melting snow exposed green and brown grass.
Many on the bus were still napping, some were reading or playing video games, but it was still a very quiet bus that was now just 130 miles from Salem at 4:30 p.m.
The next video offering was Creed.
At 6:24 p.m. the Eph team arrived in Salem where it was sunny with no snow on the ground and the bus proceeded directly to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner.
After dinner five Eph players retired to a small conference room in the team hotel to take midterm exams.
Tomorrow's schedule will have the Eph team participating in a community service project at Salem High School from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
After lunch the team will head to the Salem Civic Center to have their first practice on the championship court and then immediately following that session they will have a team photo. A media session follows the team photo.
In the evening there will be a Student-Athlete Celebration at the team hotel for all four teams.