For Love of the Game?

I vaguely remember as a kid in LaFayette, GA thinking that everything was impossibly far away. This manifested itself in two main ways. First, going to the mall was a weekend event. Second, going to away games was a pain. It could be fun when you were involved in the sport and rode there with your team, but most of my memories are driving far away to attend my brother playing either football, basketball, or tennis. Not that I didn’t support him, just that I would have rather been reading somewhere quiet. So somewhere we went was “over the mountain” which meant it seemed far and it caused car sickness. I don’t recall exactly where this was, but it was far.
When I coached Quiz Bowl at Elkins I always had to decide whether it was worth it to stay overnight at matches because we would have to drive across the state. I always opted for a very long day and no overnight trips. Because I would rather be at home reading watching Netflix.
Here is a map of Alaska overlaying a map of the US. In case you need a reference point for size. Alaska_map_over_US_map
You see where I am headed, right?
Here is a picture of the athletic conference that includes this school district.
photo 1(2)
And here is a kind of bad picture of what that looks like on the map of Alaska. The conference is in yellow.
photo 2(2)
It goes from the Aleutian Islands over to Juneau and up to the northermost part of Alaska. I mean…WHAT?
This pretty much redefines the meaning of far away. Yes, you do have to fly your team to every event. Everything is done tournament style for this reason. All the teams fly to a location and compete for three days and then go home again. And where do they stay? These are towns that don’t always include grocery stores, much less hotels. Well, they stay in the classrooms of the schools of course! I have also heard that they might sometimes be housed in the homes of the hosting team, but that’s not how Bethel handles the onslaught. Instead you get an email saying there will be a tournament and then I assume you get a follow-up email if your classroom will serve as a hotel. The art room does not make a good hotel since the massive tables are immobile and every surface is covered in years of paint and charcoal dust.
I wonder what they have to pay coaches up here? It’s one thing to give up all of your Friday nights for three or four months and another thing entirely to give up whole weekends to stay with teenagers on the floor of a classroom. Not to mention the amount of time out of school for the students.
And to think I hated to go over the mountain.

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