Fall trips offer unique experiences for athletes

by Tim LoneStaff Writer

Fall sports teams often have the unique opportunity to go on team trips in the fall. The trips offer tough competition as well as a unique cultural experience for the athletes.

Athletic Director John Sirianni said that in the past, Simpson athletes have traveled everywhere from New York to California, Las Vegas, Florida, Texas and even Hawaii.

Sirianni said there are several reasons why sports teams choose to take these trips, and added that it’s different for every sport.

“It’s a whole bunch of things,” Sirianni said. “For baseball and softball, if they are going to get any preparation time for the season, with the climate, they have to [take a trip]. They have to go south if they’re going to get decent weather to play and practice.”The Storm volleyball team will be making a trip to Seattle, Wash. this fall.

Volleyball coach Lana Smith said she tries to pick a place that will give her team the best competition.

“Every place that we’ve been has been a final eight team,” Smith said.

Smith said that the trips the team has taken in the past were great bonding and learning experiences.

“I think I was always going to say Hawaii was the best trip we ever took the kids on,” Smith said. “And then New York was the first trip we didn’t ever take them where it was warm, or where there was water. I think New York had to be the best trip. It just did. It was such a great experience because I always look at it as we’re not just there to play volleyball.”

Junior Lara Gillespie said the team trips give the players an opportunity to spend some time together away from Simpson while still competing in volleyball. Gillespie also mentioned some of her favorite things about the trip to New York City in 2007.

“We visited the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, went to Legally Blonde the Musical on Broadway, walked around Times Square and went to stores there and walked in Central Park,” Gillespie said. “I really liked going to the Statue of Liberty and walking through it. “Legally Blonde: The Musical” was really fun, a lot better than I expected, and all the girls got into it and loved it. Playing at NYU was also great. We won the tournament and started our season strong.”

Gillespie also added that the trips give the team an opportunity to face some good national competition early in the season, and allows them to try out some different lineups for the upcoming season.

Sirianni added that it also provides an opportunity for team members to get to know one another.

“It really does help with team bonding as well,” Sirianni said. “Because when you put ‘X’ number of people, guys or girls, in a situation where they have to spend a week together, they learn how to get along. And you get to know who these people really are. So that’s a huge aspect too.”

Sirianni also said that these team trips can help with recruiting as well and that in some sports, if you don’t take a trip like this, it could impact your recruiting. Sirianni went on to talk about how the economy might affect these trips in the future.

“It [the economy] hasn’t [impacted us] this year,” Sirianni said. “We do anticipate it could be problematic as we head into the future.”