This is getting ridiculous.
Payson’s football team has chartered a bus three times for long road trips the last two seasons.
Alas, the Longhorns haven’t gotten their money’s worth in any of those instances.
In fact, they’ve had some pretty unpleasant experiences.
Last season, the heater on the bus they were traveling in back from Mohave Valley stopped working. A freak snowstorm outside of Williams had them buying ponchos and any other clothing they could find at a truck stop. They took turns wiping off the inside of the windshield so the driver could see the road.
The fact that the televisions didn’t work only added to the ordeal.
Cold wasn’t the problem during last week’s five-and-a-half-hour trip to Parker: This time it was the heat.
That’s right, the air conditioning on the bus stopped working shortly after they left Payson High. The temperature exceeded 100 degrees in Parker.
“It was pretty hot,” said head coach Jake Swartwood. “It was a sauna in the bus on the way there.”
Swartwood said the kids made the best of the situation.
“It was tough,” he said. “All the boys had their shirts off. They were able to take their cell phones and stick it to their chest and it would not move. It was just stuck. You could stick anything you wanted to on their bodies, pretty much. It was pretty bad.”
At least the TVs were working the whole trip. That was little solace, however.
“Well, it was pretty bad,” said senior offensive and defensive tackle Noah Wood. “It was just really hot, muggy and all the guys in the bus were sweating it up in there.”
Things seemed fine when the bus pulled out of the parking lot. But it wasn’t long before the passengers realized it was going to be yet another unpleasant experience.
“We got like 15 to 20 minutes out of town before the air conditioning decided to die on us,” Wood said. “And it just kind of killed everyone’s spirit there for a minute. We were like, ‘Oh, no.’”
In contrast, the trip to Page two weeks ago went great. All that went wrong then: the televisions didn’t work until they were 45 minutes from their destination and they had to wait about 90 minutes before beginning the six-hour return leg of the journey because of a tire problem.
Although the team used the same company for all three trips, they did get that firm to change the kind of bus they used last week.
Although these were the only two scheduled charters this season, needless to say, the Longhorns will be making different travel arrangements for these kinds of long trips in the future.
“We no longer will be using that charter or that bus again,” Swartwood said. “We yellow bus the rest of the season anyway, so that shouldn’t be a hindrance on us.
Page and Parker will both play in Payson in 2014 so the Longhorns likely won’t have the kind of long trip that makes the idea of chartering a bus seem like a good idea.
The sweltering experience took its toll on the Longhorns during the game with a 28-21 loss.
“It was just the shear physical nature of not having enough hydration in us,” Swartwood said. “We tried to pump as much as we could into them. Everybody got a gallon jug when we got to Parker, drank it, filled it up again, drank another one.
“But we were still a little lethargic in the first half. It was about 105 (degrees) at game time. We expected 100 degrees. So that wasn’t too bad.”