Behind The Mask

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Sophomore Erika Peterson offers a weekly look behind the scenes of the life of a softball player in Behind The Mask.
Sophomore Erika Peterson offers a weekly look behind the scenes of the life of a softball player in Behind The Mask.

March 3, 2005

"Are you from Memphis? `Cause you're the only `Ten' I see!" That is the line that just never got old as we traveled to Tennessee last weekend. Well, we actually weren't in Memphis, but in Chattanooga with all of the choo choo trains going through the town. I must say it was quite a trip. It reminded me of the 1980's movie "Trains, Planes, and Automobiles." We had several flight delays going out of Indy and then in North Carolina where we switched planes. The team actually had to split up and take two separate flights. I was informed that the first group to finally leave North Carolina was on an airplane with propellers. I wasn't even sure that those kinds of planes were still around. The bus picked us up in Chattanooga in the middle of the night, took us to the hotel, and we turned around to play the next day at UTC, which has several choo choo trains running behind the fields.

We stayed in the same haunted hotel as last year. When Staci, Tara and I first got up to our room, all we wanted to do was go to sleep but we found that none of our keys worked. I told them it was from the ghosts, and while Staci and I were afraid to take the elevator alone, Tara graciously volunteered to go downstairs to the front desk to get our keys reprogrammed. The hotel looks like the haunted mansion ride at Disneyland. It has high ceilings and those old, dim lights that curl out from the wall like claws. It was definitely spooky.

The weekend before Tennessee, we headed south to Lafayette, Louisiana. This was a fantastic trip. We played a strong tournament and got a taste of the southern style. The team went out for Cajun food Friday night after our games. For several of our northerners and west coasters, this was our very first taste of Cajun spiced food. I thought my shrimp and jambalaya was delicious, while the entire team was fascinated by the tubs of crawfish one could order. To our Texans this was normal, but I know that several of us could not believe how the crawfish is served as, well, crawfish. They have a head and a tail and eyes and everything! After the crawfish festivities, the musicians in overalls started to play Cajun music. Of course, our shy team was the first group of people out on the dance floor getting our groove on. We did the electric slide and learned how to two-step. A nice old lady took Tricia out for a whirl on the dance floor and attempted to teach the rest of us how to waltz. Then, I think she gave up and just started dancing in our circle, each of us showing off our own moves in the middle of the circle. Just as we were all warmed up, we had to head back to the hotel for the night for some study and relaxation time before our game the next morning.

We are traveling again this week. It's the most wonderful time of year! We are headed to Atlanta, Ga., tomorrow for a tournament this coming weekend. We return Sunday night to wash our clothes and turn in assignments Monday and then are headed to Clearwater, Fla., next Wednesday for spring break. It should be an exciting next couple of weeks out on the road. Until next time...