July 20th, 2018

Bus culture an important part of youth athletics

By Ryan McCracken on April 13, 2018.

I don’t need to tell anyone about the Humbolt Broncos tragic accident. At this point in time, the whole world is aware of what happened. I can’t add anything or say anything that hasn’t been said. What I will say is that I cannot imagine what is going on in the hearts and minds of the families affected. I am a father and I cannot imagine losing one of my children. I love my children more than I love my own life. I would put myself in front of any danger in order to spare them from being hurt. I know that the families affected by this tragedy would do the same for their children. My thoughts and prayers are with the families. I pray that there will be a measure of peace for them.

In this edition of Coehoorn’s Corner, I am going to speak about the importance of the bus in the world of sports. In any given sports season, there are thousands of buses on the road. These buses are sanctuaries for the development of camaraderie and team building. Athletes spend more time on a bus than they do playing the game that they love.

I was fortunate to play football at the high school and collegiate levels. I rode on chartered buses many times throughout my career. I remember being in high school and riding the bus to Hanna to play the Hanna Hawks football team. It was on that bus ride that I was first introduced to one of my favorite movies, “Remember the Titans.” Another memory that I have was playing football for Champlain College in Lennoxville, Quebec. Every time we would win a game, the team would sing a song in French, none of which I could understand. Even though I could not sing along, there was still a feeling of pure joy.

I also remember being on the bus when I played football for the University of Calgary Dinos. I typically rode on the bus with fellow Med Hatter Dan Federkeil. We would have a lot of fun and would usually annoy each other at points. I also remember the feeling prior to the game as we drove up to the stadium in the bus. We would be very serious because we knew that we were there to accomplish a goal. Without fail though, on the way home we as a team would most likely be asleep on the bus by the time we got back to Calgary. I remember waking up in a daze, unloading my equipment and hopping in my car to head back to my apartment.

These experiences on the bus were some of my most fond memories. The feeling on the Humbolt Broncos bus was most likely the same as they were on their way to their game in Nipawin. I am sure that the athletes were having fun. I’m sure that they were in the process of developing the camaraderie that I spoke about earlier. I can imagine the feeling of excitement for the game to come. I can imagine the focus on their faces as they mentally prepared to compete. I did not know these athletes, but I do know the sanctuary of the bus and I know that those athletes had smiles on their faces. It is in this way that I will choose to remember the Humbolt Broncos!

Cory Coehoorn is the coordinator of the Alberta Sport Development Centre at Medicine Hat College. He can be reached via email at ccoehoorn@mhc.ab.ca or via phone at 403-504-3547.

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