What’s with the travel?
Only the Purdue-Fort Wayne Mastodons, after a season of flight delays and cancellations, could go on their first 2019-2020 bus trip of the year and end up stuck on the side of the road next to a bus with a mechanical-issue.
And that simplifies the story.
The ride to Cape Girardeau, Missouri was nearly eight hours on Saturday. The Mastodons didn’t arrive at their downtown hotel until approximately 9:00 P.M.
Sunday was breakfast, a light practice, a pregame meal and a trip to the Show Me Center to battle Southeast Missouri.
The men’s game was scheduled to begin exactly two hours after the start of the SEMO women’s game. Not exactly enough time between tips.
The men’s game didn’t start at 4:00 P.M. local time, but closer to 4:40 P.M.
Purdue Fort Wayne was already expecting to arrive on campus at 3:45-4:00 A.M., now with the late start, the best-case was a 4:30-4:45 A.M. arrival.
Then after getting showered, dressed, and packed for the road, the Mastodons learned the bus wouldn’t start and the battery was dead. Emergency roadside assistance was called in, and after another delay of approximately 30 minutes, the ‘Dons were ready to head home.
For all of about two blocks.
As the bus departed the arena parking lot and drove a couple of blocks down the street, it began losing torque and shaking, unable to get over the rolling hills in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Now we had a bigger problem.
Already delayed by well over an
hour, the players and coaches (and one radio guy) got off the bus and waited along the sidewalk to hear our fate.
After another hour, the verdict came down from “Judge Coffman”…another night at the hotel in Cape Girardeau.
By this time it was close to 9:00 pm Central time and a replacement bus wouldn’t arrive until 4:00 A.M. so the team got a courtesy shuttle from SEMO to get back to the hotel before an early wake-up call.
The bus was boarded at 6:15 A.M. CST and hit the road for Fort Wayne.
Overcoming adversity has been a motto for Coach Jon Coffman and the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons. With the way the travel gods have treated this team for the last two years, no one should need to question why.