As the 2013 World Series began last night, my house was an extremely proud cheering section of one (maybe due to the fact I was too loud to hear anyone else in my house).
With Adam Wainwright taking the mound for St. Louis, I gleamed with pride for my hometown representation. I spent many Friday nights at our hometown high school baseball field, watching scouts fill the stands to wait for Adam to take the mound. I was also fortunate, or misfortunate depending on the view, to be working through physical therapy for a torn ACL at the same time as Adam worked to heal a shoulder injury.
All these memories flow back to me as I remember my middle school and high school years as an upcoming athlete. At an early age, my parents encouraged participation in sports. I naturally caught on to sports such as baseball and softball, took lessons to try and grasp the natural ability for soccer and tennis, found myself in a cheerleading outfit once or twice and even managed to perform in a piano recital three years in a row. Out of all the activities I participated in, my fondest memories come from traveling with my teammates. Sometimes it was state tournaments for soccer…meaning a day of travel, up early on Saturday to be at the field before the dew had risen from the grass, and back home on Sunday. Other times it was softball tournaments for multiple weeks during the summer traveling to multiple states. As a player, I was oblivious to all the work that was put into making our trip a success, whether we dominated on the field or not. Now, as an adult in the travel industry, I realize everyday how much work is put into a softball team’s trip to Orlando, or a hockey team traveling to Chicago.
With both experiences now, I would recommend using a tour operator to assist in planning sports trips. No matter what company you choose, although I am partial to our staff at Kaleidoscope Adventures, remember they are in the business because they are professionals at it. They work hard to make the trip as smooth as possible for the players, parents, coaches and friends who travel. Your sales manager and operations manager work countless hours to fill your trip days with activities away from the ballpark, book dining that will suit the needs of everyone in the group, conduct site visits to find perfect accommodations for the specific needs of the team. I still remember the conversations I had with my coaches, both on the field and off. I will always remember the helpfulness they provided, not only to make me the best athlete possible, but also to simply be there as someone who I looked up to. If my coaches had tried to plan all of our team travel alone, I wonder how many opportunities they might have missed to teach us something?