Tales From The Road

Dec. 6, 2005

Today started off as your average travel day. As we were waiting patiently in the terminal, we were all conversing in our average ways. I think that we might have left some people out, and possibly hurt some feelings. We left West Lafayette at 6 p.m. The flight was relatively smooth and extremely fast. It seemed as soon as we got off the ground we were right back on it. We transferred from the plane to the bus and went on our way to the hotel in Lansing, Mich. We could have gotten a nice nap on the way to the hotel, but our driver found it intriguing to ride on the "rumble strips" the whole way. Needless to say, it was a bit difficult to fall asleep on the bus.

Once we arrived at the hotel everything seemed to be going smoothly. That is until we got to our rooms. First, when Marie and Lindsay tried opening the door to their room Lindsay thought she burned her hand on the door handle and then made the assumption that there was a fire on the other side of the door. When they finally worked up the courage to open the door, the room was indeed steamy. One of the employees explained that the hotel was 40 years old and that they only had two boilers running the temperature, which left us with two settings: hot and cold. "Even though we are `Boilermakers`, we couldn't help with the steamy situation." (Leah Wischmeier). John thought otherwise. As soon as he found out some of the girls were in need of his assistance, he was quick to the rescue. He came in to open the stiff door that lead to the cool outdoor air. His heroic efforts ended up turning on him. John's strength was too much for the 40-year-old door that was older than he is (John = 35 yrs old). As soon as he touched the sliding glass door, it fell off of the track and fell forward towards the balcony rail. Luckily, his cat-like reflexes allowed him to snag the door before it got too ugly. Don't worry, it doesn't stop there...

Later that night Leah and I were blessed with the company of Marie and Lindsay while they were waiting for the fire to burn out in their room. As soon as they decided it was safe to go back in their room, it was lights out for Leah and I.

The alarm went off at 9:20 a.m. so that we could be in time for our 9:30 a.m. breakfast. Since we have had such a good experience with the hotel up till this point, we were expecting an exquisite breakfast. Contrary to our belief, the breakfast was nothing to brag about. After we filled our bellies with soggy French toast and black bananas we made out way to our rooms to prepare for the morning practice. Practice ran smoothly unlike our bodies that took an hour to get warmed up because the gym was an ice box. We left the gym feeling extremely confident with our game plan.

We arrived back at the hotel (YES!) to shower up. An hour later after dolling myself up, I went down to the study hall room. I began to study and then decided I was a bit parched. On my way to get a beverage I passed a small convention that possessed many beautiful sparkling bags that caught my eye. I was strong and kept on walking past them. Unfortunately, on my way back to study tables I wanted to take another peek at the purses. The purse lady caught me looking at her merchandise and "forced" me to enter the room and purchase a purse. I entered the study hall room and the commotion began. (Nasty) Annie Mastandrea, Renata Dargan, and Lindsay Shondell got suckered into the same trap and bought a purse. But now we all have beautiful purses to accentuate our beautiful personalities. (All four purses are flashy considering all of them are completely smothered in sparkles.) We finally settled down in study hall which allowed us a few minutes of quality study time before we had to report to pre-game meal. My guess was that this meal was going to match the elegant breakfast we had earlier that morning. My guess was correct. Some girls were caught off guard when they bit into what they thought were corn muffins and tasted bananas. There were a few people that liked the lemon chicken. Since the lemon chicken was anything but appetizing to me, I offered for anyone to have it. It was snatched off of my plate in no time. At least someone liked the lemon chicken.

After the meal, we were primed for match time. This was considered to be a huge weekend for Purdue Volleyball since we got off to a tough start in the Big Ten season. We began the match playing our "Boiler Ball" style. For everything the Spartans threw at us we had a response. Everyone did their job during the match which allowed use to coast through the first two games 30-20, 30-27. The third game was a little different. The Spartans picked up their level of play. Like I said earlier, the Boilers had a response. In the intense battle for the third game the Boilers came out on top! We made our way to the locker room after the match and waited patiently for the coaching staff to give their two cents on the match we had just completed. Apparently, we were not excited enough about the victory over the Spartans because J-Bomb came storming in and shouted "YOU SHOULD BE MORE EXCITED THAN THIS!" While he was shouting in excitement he punched the dry erase board which sent the marker that was attached flying and almost poked out Marie Franke's eye. Luckily, we got out of the locker room without any injuries. It felt so good to scream out loud in excitement with each other. We were proud of our accomplishment, proud of each other's performance and proud of being Boilermakers.

After we all cleaned up, we made our way to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to take on the Wolverines.

We woke up for our early morning breakfast as usual. I know I was hungry for some good cooking since the last hotel didn't quite please my appetite. We ate breakfast in a room that was across the parking lot from the hotel. Much to my surprise, I could see my breath as we were walking to our morning meal. The day was off to a chilly start. I began to warm up to the smell of warm French toast, delicious eggs, and crispy bacon. Now that is more like it. Even though I thought this breakfast was an upgrade from where we had eaten the previous day, Kelli Miller seemed to think that the eggs looked like rat food. She opted to skip over the eggs that morning. I decided to try the eggs and came to the conclusion that it was not rat food, but it was in fact a delicious combination of eggs, cheese, and mushrooms.

After breakfast it was time for the Boilers to suit up and head to practice. The practice went smoothly as we went over the Wolverines' offense and prepared for another Big Ten battle. I couldn't say the same for the ride home. For some reason I didn't feel that Ann Arbor was too welcoming. Our huge Boilermaker bus strolled down the street causing all kinds of commotion from the Michigan football fans. The fans were thoroughly amused by throwing miniature foam footballs at our bus as we were on our way to the hotel. Many of them had terrible aim.

The rest of the day was typical for a travel day. We returned to the hotel after practice, showered and got beautified, and then made our way to pre-game meal. Again, the meal was delicious and I think most everyone thought so, since nothing really exciting was said or done during the meal. Most of us were too busy eating to talk about anything. It wasn't much longer until it was time to pack up and make our way back to the gym for the match. Hopefully we will be greeted again by the kind Michigan fans.

The match was clearly in our control that night. During the match the fans held up to their reputation of being some of the kindest road fans. They had so many "nice" things to say about every single person on the bench that night. We handled Michigan and their rude fans with ease in the first two games 30-20, 30-20. Almost as if we had replayed the match from the night before, we wrapped up the third game 36-34. You can imagine the response of the Boilermakers after our victory, over the Wolverines. Since I have been at Purdue, this is the first match I have won against Michigan. In the past, the win over the Wolverines had slipped right through our fingertips. We had been given every opportunity to close the deal, but it never happened. Now, the Boilers have found the trick to closing the deal.

In the locker room after the match, we did not need John to come in and create more energy because we were creating our own. This weekend was in fact a huge weekend for the Boilers. We fought together as a team and grew stronger in many aspects of the game. We knew we had done something great, and we weren't afraid to show it tonight.

Boiler Up!

Brittany Dildine




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