Bad Weather Forces College Basketball Team to Walk Two Whole Miles!

I realize that what recently transpired in Alabama was probably cold and unpleasant for those involved. But…is it the kind of hardship that constitutes news? Yahoo khbziarhys

Icy roads forced a college basketball team to walk two miles to their hotel after their bus was unable to drive down an Alabama interstate.

Ericka Smith, a sophomore with the Middle GeorgiaState College basketball team, told ABC News [ABC News!!!!] that her school’s men’s and women’s basketball teams boarded a bus Friday afternoon en route to Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tennessee, for games this weekend.

But the bus had to stop a few miles from their hotel. Did the young men and women proceed to build a fort in the woods and roast a basketball for sustenance? Not exactly…

With their hotel about three miles away, the players gathered up their belongings and started walking.

The Athens Police Department found the basketball team shortly after midnight Saturday and drove them to their hotel after they had walked about two miles.

Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson said officers would drive the players to their bus today if the roads were safe….“Everything happens for a reason and we’re just happy we made it safely,” Smith said. 

Whew! That was a close one!

What irks me about this story is it springs from the assumption that expecting young people to do anything challenging and uncomfortable is almost asking too much.  But life is all about rolling with some strange punches, and we humans are supremely well qualified to do that, especially when we’re young and fit and with our friends! – L

Battling the storm.

Man vs. Nature. Who will win…on 2 mile trek?

52 Responses to Bad Weather Forces College Basketball Team to Walk Two Whole Miles!

  1. Katie February 22, 2015 at 11:08 am #

    The first time through, I thought it was a high school team and went back to make sure it wasn’t younger kids or something. But, uh, college? We’re talking grown ups walking a few miles? OMG. When I was 15 or 16, I went camping and hiking in the snow! In Texas!

  2. Joan February 22, 2015 at 11:13 am #

    So… it’s fine to make college athletes routinely run a mile or two as training, but if they have to walk two miles unexpectedly it’s news? And it can’t just be the weather, because I live in the Midwest and I know college athletes train outside in inclement weather. I even see high school track teams jogging along roads in the snow.

    Plus, not that it wasn’t nice of the police to give them a lift, but if your basketball team can’t manage a three mile walk they’re probably not a contender for the championship, just saying.

  3. Jenny Islander February 22, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    I’ve done the same distance, in frosty weather, pushing a stroller. Both ways. Uphill.

  4. Andy February 22, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    Poor babies! My brothers and I had to walk 1 1/2 miles to junior high school each day. When we graduated, we had to walk 1 1/2 miles to the high school. No crossing guards (that was for elementary school kids) and having to cross a series of very busy intersections. But I’m just an old fart from a tougher generation.

  5. Tsu Dho Nimh February 22, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

    Good grief … these are TRAINED ATHLETES and it’s newsworthy that they walked a couple of miles?

  6. Nadine February 22, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    It can become pretty cold when you aren’t dressed for a frosty walk. But how is that newsworthy?

  7. Beth February 22, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

    What others have said is my issue too – these are college athletes? They probably spend more time in the weight room in a month than any of us will in a lifetime, yet when they have to walk two miles carrying gear it’s a Very Big Deal?

    I have no words.

  8. Ariel February 22, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

    @jenny islander: my mom did the same with me as a baby, with her shopping bags hanging on each stroller handle!

  9. Rick February 22, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

    In 7th grade our French class walked 1.5 miles to the community theater to watch an R-rated French movie. Heads would roll now. However, we got a good laugh and some fresh air from stuffy classrooms.

  10. Jill February 22, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    It sounds worst than the Oregon Trail.

  11. bmj2k February 22, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

    You know those stereotypical stories that begin with something like “When I was your age I had to walk sixteen miles through a snowstorm everyday with 100 pounds of books on my back to get to school every morning”? That’s what this reminded me of, except that this was no big deal. Why is this being treated as a big deal? They are college students who made an adult decision. Plus it says that the police department “found” the team. Were they lost? Did they wander through the woods for days? They were walking along an interstate. How hard were they to “find”?

  12. carolyn February 22, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

    You have to remember that this took place in the south. Anything with snow/ice is big news there:)

  13. Michelle February 22, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    Is it possible that a) this is a small town with nothing really newsworthy going on; and b) it only made the news because it was unexpected (they walked because the bus broke down, not because they planned to). I mean, it’s not like anyone is outraged about it. And Carolyn is right; in the South, ice and snow are news.

  14. Donald February 22, 2015 at 4:55 pm #

    Unexpected things happen. That’s called life. Your confidence in your ability to deal with adversity is a major factor in your happiness. However, media seeks out adversity with a microscope. They the trump it up as much as they can because that is what people want to buy. They need their fix of ‘Outrage’.

    Watching adversity is entertaining. You can feel the outrage of murder without putting yourself in danger of actually being there. This is the same as the fun of a roller coaster. I can feel the thrill and excitement of falling without putting myself in danger of actually falling.

    I did have more to say but I just got an Amber Alert and I have to read about it. This drama addiction sure beats the other one that I had. Besides my crack suppler was put in jail and I haven’t found another.

    …..Man vs Nature. Who will win….on a 2 mile trek?
    Answer. The news team

  15. Dan February 22, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

    Used to walk 1 mile to school, and 1 mile home. When I was 7! Never is snow, but often in pouring rain. Jumped in every single puddle on the way home.

    And a mile only takes about 20 minutes to walk.

  16. Puzzled February 22, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    The comments on the Yahoo article mostly boil down to: what, walk? They should have called ‘the authorities’ for help! A few are a bit more dramatic, complaining “why risk your lives for a game?” Maybe they misread and think it says 200 miles or something, but those comments are reminding me (as often happens) just how screwed up our culture really is.

  17. hineata February 22, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

    Laura Ingalls Wilder, my all-time favorite author (even now I read her books if I’m feeling sorry for myself!) did almost die walking a few minutes in a blizzard…but I presume this wasn’t a blizzard? No chance of being lost forever in the open wilderness?

    Makes you wonder how the Polish refugee children of Pahiatua survived their 1000 mile trek from Poland to Russia and down to Iraq. Or more recently the Lost Boys of the Sudan. ..but then I suppose the latter were only battling starvation and trying to avoid armed factions, not trying to walk down an American road.

  18. hineata February 22, 2015 at 7:46 pm #

    Those dangerous, dangerous American roads…..

  19. lollipoplover February 22, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

    Remember the movie “Alive” about the rugby team that survived a plane crash in the Andes and had to resort to cannibalism to survive? Yeah, this is not that story.

  20. Donna February 22, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

    This is the south. Anything involving snow and ice makes news. It is not meant as a “oh horrors, people had to walk” story and more of a “look what happened in this year in our one day of snow and ice” story.

  21. Uly February 22, 2015 at 8:47 pm #

    These folks are in Alabama. What are the odds that they have the appropriate gear for freezing weather?

    On Friday night, it was 26 F. If they were badly dressed for the weather – which is a real possibility – hypothermia is a risk, no matter how in shape they think they are.

  22. Warren February 22, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    If anyone cared to look at the photo of the team, outside the hotel, on the yahoo story………..they were adequately clothed to handle the walk.

    If they couldn’t handle the walk, they shouldn’t be on the team.

  23. BL February 22, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

    “They should have called ‘the authorities’ for help!”

    I’m not sure if I agree with this. I’ll have to call ‘the authorities’ to tell me what to think.

  24. Warren February 22, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

    As for calling the authorities for help, as some of the yahoo commentors suggested. Probably would not have done any good. With conditions as bad as they were all emergency services were most likely stretched thin, and the team was in no danger, so they would not have been given any priority.

    I can remember leaving Kingston headed home to Toronto after a hockey tournament, and being stopped by the police at the highway. We were told that with the winter storm the highway was too dangerous to travel. They said they couldn’t legally stop us, but they would not come out to help us should we get stuck or stranded.

    Went back to the hotel, took in a stray dog, played poker and had a ball. The hotel was pretty cool about it. Because they were booking up so fast, and they realized most didn’t budget for an extra night of accomodations, food and such, they allowed teams to put more people per room than they ever allowed before.

  25. Puzzled February 22, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

    BL – nice!

    Warren – I’m sure the yahoo comments also assume “but they’re college students – of course they’d have priority over less important people!” Projected entitlement mentality, I’m guessing.

  26. Cassie February 22, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

    I love how the news story says “But less than an hour from their destination on Friday night, the bus driver pulled over on Interstate 65”.

    What an example of grossly exaggerating while still telling the truth.

  27. Amy February 22, 2015 at 11:39 pm #

    Athletes are always pampered. Big budgets, more amenities, low expectations other than game performance.

  28. Paul February 22, 2015 at 11:50 pm #

    It must have been a really slow news day for local news out there.

  29. pentamom February 23, 2015 at 8:35 am #

    One thing people might not be considering is that college sports teams (at least at some schools — I don’t know about MGSC) often travel in nice clothing as a sort of tradition of paying respect to the hosting campus — men in ties, women in skirts or dress pants. The women especially might have been wearing shoes fairly unsuitable for walking that distance carrying their bags (although it’s unlikely they were wearing anything less suitable than nice flats.) So it could have been fairly awkward.

    Having said that, however, it’s still ridiculous that it was “news.” At worst, it was a fairly unpleasant and inconvenient experience for a group of obviously fit, healthy adults.

    But maybe it was just filler. Yahoo wants eyeballs. They’re not really in the business of caring about whether their news is “newsworthy” provided it makes people look at the ads on the page.

  30. pentamom February 23, 2015 at 8:38 am #

    Okay, sorry, I saw the picture, I take it back. They were clearly dressed in warmups and sneakers. It was an unscheduled workout, that’s about it.

  31. E February 23, 2015 at 9:16 am #

    I read the article, I don’t see where it was said that it was ‘asking too much’. It’s just an article about a basketball team in icy Alabama. “The news” is always looking for stories when these weather issues create havoc. The Weather Channel was fixated on that team that got stranded on their bus when Buffalo had that freak lake effect snow in the Fall.

    Speaking from experience in living in the south and the deep south, ice is unusual, so they were looking for the human interest stories. I didn’t get any “OMG the horror” from the article at all. The photo is cute with the team and the officers that helped them out. I’m sure the coach was relieved that everyone was fine. I’m sure the coach would prefer that his/her team not have to deal with it, but was trying to look on the bright side.

    I really don’t see any issue at all. /shrug

  32. E February 23, 2015 at 9:25 am #

    @Amy, do you know anything about this school or its athletic program? They play in the Junior College Athletic Association. It’s inaccurate and unkind to even suggest that these kids, whom you do not know, are pampered. What JC athletic program (or Div III or Div II) is big budget and/or pampered?

    Some of the assumptions and aspersions thrown around in the comments are just as bad (sometimes worse) than any non or anti-FR behaviors that are often featured here.

  33. SteveS February 23, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    I don’t see why this is news. IIRC, something like 18 people have died in Tennessee as a result of this weather. That would be news. On the other hand, it doesn’t sound like these kids were complaining or asking for some kind of special treatment.

    I agree that this kind of weather is big news in the south. I have been down there when it has snowed and they have a hard time dealing with it.

  34. Donna February 23, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    Chill out Folks. This is just a reflection of southern culture. They make a huge deal out of cold, snow and ice down here. It is humorous for those of us originally from other places, but whatever. There is no explanation to the overreaction other than southern quirkiness so stop looking for one. I’m sure there are things that go on where you live that make you look ridiculous to the rest of the country.

    The southern papers are filled with these kinds of stories whenever cold, ice and snow happens. This exact same article would have been written 50 years ago had it occurred and is not remotely a reflection of any change in society or babying college students. Ice and its effects are just big news in the south and always has been.

  35. Coasterfreak February 23, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    Oh the horror!

    This morning we had parents on our neighborhood’s Facebook page who were angry because school hadn’t been canceled yet. There is a stretch of road where there’s no street lights and they were afraid the kids who have to walk wouldn’t be able to see patches of ice and might slip and fall. This is in central Texas. We have had 75 degree or warmer temperatures for a week. This morning it was 34 degrees and damp. I considered commenting that water freezes at 32 degrees, the ground would be too warm for it to ice over even if it WAS freezing outside, and it’s light outside by the time the kids walk to school so they don’t need street lights, but I figured I’d just let them sit there and be outraged instead. I guess a lot of people were just disappointed that Icepocalypse 2015 never developed as forecast so they didn’t get a day off work like they had hoped.

  36. E February 23, 2015 at 10:12 am #

    @SteveS, is there some reason to believe that this small human interest story somehow prevents news media from publishing a story about the people that died in relation to this same weather pattern?

  37. Brooks February 23, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

    I think this has more to do with “news” outlets looking for a new story every 13 seconds and not necessarily because there was much concern.

    Here in Alabama, we don’t handle icy weather very well, having zero infrastructure to do so. So we have hours of breathless reporting from (especially) TV weather folks about it. I’m sure that’s why the national news picked up this little tidbit. Also, since much of the deep south was blindsided by “Snowmagedden” last year, the “news” has been eagerly awaiting more stories like that, and I think a lot of this reporting is wishful thinking.

    Interestingly, the last person quoted stated that the trip from Nashville to Tuscaloosa usually is a two hour trip. He must be driving a Ferrari, because it’s a minimum four hour trip. Unless he’s averages 124 mph. Quality reporting, this piece.

  38. SteveS February 23, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    @E, I was not suggesting that this story was preventing other news from being reported on, just that this really wasn’t “news.” I think Donna is correct in that these kinds of stories would have made the news 50 years ago. The big difference is that in the past, this would have been just a local human interest story. I doubt this would have made the national news.

  39. E February 23, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    @StevesS, ok, I see what you mean.

    And yes, I agree. The local news and newspaper would probably report on it, but there are 1000s of outlets that just link to it. Plus news orgs trawl twitter feeds for stories like this. I am not particularly active on twitter and even I have come across a photo or a tweet related to something topical and there will be responses to it from websites/news channels asking for permission to use the photo or tweet or whatever.

    It looks like Good Morning America had some connection to this story, and it used to be a much smaller amount of “morning programming” so they’ve got hours to fill with this — on every channel and 1000s of website.

  40. Donna February 23, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    I don’t necessarily agree that it wouldn’t have made national news even in years passed. Like many older people, my grandmother is (or was before dementia) obsessed with weather. Living in the climatic wonderland of San Diego, she had none of her own weather to be obsessed over so she was constantly talking about the weather of all her family and friends. She totally would know about stories like this. I don’t know where she got them, but she’d call us about them. Heck, she managed to know more about our weather incidents than we did.

    Completely random news bits have always made the national news. Whether this would have been one of them is unknown, but it definitely strikes me as something that could have.

  41. lollipoplover February 23, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

    This is news is because it’s click bait. It has students, a bus, and bad weather. Mind you, college students, the bus didn’t break down or crash and the students opted to just walk a minor distance but it still got people to read about it!

    I personally don’t know why they didn’t cancel/postpone the game but maybe they didn’t predict this storm. We’ve had snow cover most of winter now and I don’t panic or change plans much for snow. But ice? I hate driving on icy roads and would rather cancel everything than slide in a ditch. Ice sucks.

    As for walking on an Interstate (was it closed down?) in the dark after midnight in an ice storm…I can see why the police drove them back to the motel. I would take that ride. No, the distance wasn’t a big deal to walk and they’re athletes but cars+ice+pedestrians are not a good combination. Not a newsworthy event, but getting them off the Interstate was a wise decision.

  42. pentamom February 23, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    I’m wondering what “authorities” people believe exist in Alabama, whose functions include ferrying a couple of dozen healthy people a couple of miles to their destinations in the middle of a weather emergency. Stand aside, all you people disabled in the ditch, stuck by the side of the road with young children, out of gas, in need of an ambulance — the authorities must deal with ensuring that basketball players don’t do something as dangerous as walking in the cold! We must call out the Fire Department Buses and round up all the police cars that aren’t doing anything important!

  43. SteveS February 23, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    If this was a freak storm or at some time in the year when this wouldn’t typically happen, it may have made the national news, but a good portion of the country is getting slammed with some pretty crappy weather.

  44. delurking February 23, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

    On an overnight school trip, some decades ago, the bus dropped us off for dinner at the wrong restaurant. Being a large group, they couldn’t accomodate us so we had to walk to the right restaurant, which was a few miles. It was 40 degrees below zero (for real, not wind-chill). Too bad we didn’t call the press.

  45. Eric S February 23, 2015 at 5:18 pm #

    I think it’s because winter conditions in Alabama is almost unheard of. It’s like someone who lived most of their lives in a tropical country, then suddenly uprooted and moved to Winnipeg, Canada. Like deer in headlights. No clue what to do. And if it’s a slow news day in the local area, well, you have people talking about the weather and how people are dealing with it. lol Not exactly news, but when you have lemons, you make lemonade.

    As for the news itself, the conditions from what I’ve read, is a normal winter day for us Northerners. In fact, some people up here, the slightest drop in temperature, and they are wearing spring gear. lol And it still about -10C.

  46. Eric S February 23, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

    I guess your environment and how you traverse it either toughens you up, or makes you weaker. I remember when I was about 9 years old, I walked to school during one of those days where we were getting the tail end of a hurricane. So winds were gusting to about 50-60km/h. To put it in a visual perspective, I was almost at a 45 degree angle walking and I wasn’t hitting the ground, and I saw mail boxes being blown down the sidewalk. It normally took me about 15min to walk to school, but took twice as long that day. And all we did when we got to school was laugh about how we were all fighting against the wind. And our teachers gave us the option to play outside during recess, but there would be no teacher outside to supervise. Or stay in-doors. We went outside. lol

  47. hineata February 23, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

    @Eric S. …you are so right that it is conditions you grow up in that are what you can cope with. I would curl up in a ball and die at 40 below, 😊, but a 60 kph wind is nothing. That was a normal breeze in our area of the country. A good breeze is 130 plus. But then our homes etc are built for wind…you don’t often lose your roof til 180 plus.

    I hope you went out to play…nothing like a good breeze to get lift-off! I have so many good memories of ‘flying’ in the playground 😊😊.

  48. hineata February 23, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

    Sorry, didn’t read the last sentence! Hope you had fun!!

  49. Warren February 23, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

    Windy weather was the greatest when we were kids. We believed that if we held our jackets open, ran into the wind and jumped that we would actually hover if not fly.

    When the paved area of the yard was ice covered, and the winds were high, we grabbed whatever we could to make a sail to push us across the ice.

    LOL, would take an F5 tornado to push my butt now.

  50. hineata February 23, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

    You only believed, Warren? Come now….we managed to achieve it! But darn, so true, would need a tornado to lift off these days…😀

  51. Sandi February 24, 2015 at 2:24 am #

    I thought it was bad when our local news’ top story this morning was elementary school kids being cold at their bus stops because the buses were a bit late. This is just ridiculous.

  52. Susan February 26, 2015 at 10:18 am #

    What kind of college athletes can’t walk 3 miles?

    My 11 yr old walks 1.5 miles to school every day, even when there is snow on the ground.