Traveling as a student athlete
Student athletes find traveling as a team beneficial to developing essential relationships with their teammates while also preparing them for a professional career.
In fact, many students, such as Seth Bonifas, a freshman forward on the men’s basketball team, believe that the time spent together on the road is a fundamental tool in the development of team dynamics.
“When we travel together, most of our road trips are two or three hours, if not longer,” Bonifas said. “You really get to know the guys a lot, and it’s really good bonding time for us.”
Two players who can attest to the relationships constructed while traveling are Missouri Western graduates Grant Fink and Michael Schulz. Since their commencement ceremony in 2013, both have been drafted by professional baseball teams, Fink by the Cleveland Indians and Schulz by the St. Louis Cardinals.
“Traveling is when you build camaraderie,” Fink said. “That’s when you really get to know your team. It’s actually a fun experience for me; I enjoyed the long bus rides.”
Since entering the professional leagues, both Fink and Schulz have been traveling extensively. They are often riding busses for ten to twelve hours at a time, sometimes without the luxury of stopping at a hotel before or after a game.
“It is tough getting off a bus and playing, so traveling in college definitely prepared us for the pro level,” Schulz said. “You get used to riding a bus and getting comfortable on a bus and the travel aspect as a whole.”
While Missouri Western student athletes are away on games, their coursework continues at the school. In order to maintain their grades, the coaches impose a strict watch over their study habits.
“It’s a lot of time management, I can tell you that,” Bonafis said. “It makes for a lot of late nights. Coach Weiberg is really good, he has a study hall a couple times a week. We can always get our homework done in the time we have.”
In addition to keeping their grades up, another important attribute of a student athlete is the awareness that they are a representative of the university and his or her behavior is a reflection of the school and the city of St. Joseph.
Senior women’s softball outfielder Brooke Schaben and her team takes this responsibility to heart in all of their travels across the Midwest.
“Our coach is really good about making sure that we always look the part and are always polite to everybody we meet,” Schaben said. “Everyone’s always interested to know about your life as a student athlete.”