My Teammate’s First Time Flying

Making the travel team as a college athlete is a big deal. Even more so as a freshman: a lot of coaches can’t afford to fly out the entire team for each game, so being able to travel at that age means you’ve been making a big impact early in your career. But, this can understandably be very overwhelming for someone at a young age.

I’m now a senior and have been playing regularly and traveling for a few years now, but on a recent flight this past season, I had an experience that reminded me of this reality. Our team boarded our flight and it was business as usual: strapping in, launching up netflix, and getting ready for takeoff.

I took a moment to look up from my routine and saw one of my teammates, a freshman who I didn’t really know, sitting next to me. He was clearly nervous: fidgeting, looking out the window; I thought he was going to make a break for the emergency exit at any second. 

“First time flying?” I asked.

He gave a slight nod and looked down. I thought the best way to put him at ease was to get his attention away from flying, so I talked to him. For the entire flight, I learned this kid’s story: where he was from, what his family is like, his likes/dislikes, everything. And when we landed, we were now friends and he was surprised to find that he didn’t worry during the flight at all.

Related: Athletes Supporting Athletes

It’s times like these that it’s important to remember that just reaching your hand out can make a world of difference for people during your college experience and remind them that they are not alone during this journey.

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