I was a student athletic trainer when I was in college. I worked with several different teams and was even persuaded to walk on to the women's basketball team at one point (When your 6'3" they don't care how bad or out of shape you are. I think I saw a total of about 5 minutes of playing time. I got one foul and no baskets, typical Carrie basketball). The second year that I was at KU, I was working with the football team. It was alot of work but also alot of fun. Who wouldn't have a good time hanging out with a bunch of Division 1 football players six days a week? As the season rolled on we were actually pretty decent and shockingly made it to the Aloha Bowl in Hawaii, which used to be on Christmas day. After some debate it was decided that all of the student trainers who worked with the team would get to go along for the trip. So we flew out early one morning on a private plane with the football team, the cheerleaders, most of the "important" people from the athletic department and the university. When we landed we were greeted by the warrior dancer guys who do the tongue thing.
Here are highlights of our trip as I remember them 14 years later (Not an any particular order)
- One night the goofy kicker and I hit the shopping district of Waikiki. We weren't really friends but he had a thing for my good friend/room mate on the trip and I didn't have anyone else to go out with so were stuck together. We had a good time and shocked several people who we ran into. He was your stereotypical "weird" kicker and I was quiet around alot of the players so we kind of made an odd pair I guess. We spent the last hour of our evening sitting on a corner with several lineman watching (and making fun of) Waikiki's finest ladies of the night.
- We got to visit the Pearl Harbor memorial while we were there. It was pretty amazing. I would love to be able to go back and see it again someday.
- Hawaii has beautiful sunrises and sunsets. We saw both everyday while we were there. We had practice in the morning and then got the afternoon and evenings off. We taped in conference room that had a balcony and a beautiful veiw of the ocean so we would watch the sun rise every morning. The team had to go to functions in the evenings, but we were free to do what we wanted (as long as we didn't get caught and were in by curfew). We would usually go out to eat and then hang around the hotel or walk on the beach in the evening.
- One night the majority of the student trainers went on a cruise around Waikiki Beach and then went to see the world's youngest Elvis impersonator who performed at our hotel. The cruise was fun. One of my friends had a few tow many fancy drinks and almost got us busted because for the rest of the evening he would yell "ALOOOOOHA!!!" at the top of his lungs and wave so big he would almost fall over every time we would pass other people (and I do mean EVERY TIME). Of course the first people we run into when return to the hotel is the entire coaching staff. Some how we snuck him past them and on to the impersonator show.
- I got really bummed out on the day of the game because it was the first time that I had ever been away from home on Christmas day. Christmas in Hawaii is beautiful even though it is humid and rainy.
- I learned that it is very important to keep your eyes up when you walk through a men's locker room.
- I tried several times to learn to snorkel without ever being successful at it. Two of the guys tried to teach me but I never quite got the breathing thing down and would always come up spitting out water.
- I was the only person who actually got hurt in the game and left Hawaii on crutches. We filled the coolers at the end of the ramp that went from the locker room to the field. As the game was starting I ran out of the locker room so that I would not miss anything. I slipped in the puddle of water that I HAD MADE at the bottom of the ramp, twisted, and broke my ankle. The camera man from CBS came over to help me after he finished taping the other team running out of their locker room. He saw me go down and thought I must have really hurt myself bad from the way that I fell. The team doctor had to come look at me and give me some of the special medicine that he carried in his doctor bag (that made everything much better!!!) I spent the first half sitting in the dugout by the endzone by myself (the stadium is also a baseball stadium) and the second half sitting behind the table with the coolers on it filling cups trying to see around the stupid cart with the camera that kept going up and down our side line.
- I still know most of the words to Mele Kelekimaka because it was the entire halftime performance at the game and played in several places that we visited.