The Team Travel Tragedy

As long as I can remember, I’ve played sports. The journey from being a kid playing kickball in the backyard with my neighbors, to now playing Division 1 soccer didn’t happen overnight. Throughout the years, I’ve been on countless teams — town and club. Being on so many teams with so many different sports means a lot of traveling.

The word “traveling” can mean something different to each person. For me, it changed over the years. I used to think traveling meant getting a ride from mom or dad down the street to my town soccer practice. I later understood that being able to practice in my own town was looked upon as a luxury.

In 5th grade I made the biggest decision of my 10 years of life. I had been the star on my local club soccer team, “Duxbury United.” It was basically a town team, as it held only people from my town. We were traveling to different states playing other club teams that had much larger names than ours, and we were doing well. But to me, it wasn’t enough.

I wasn’t challenging myself enough.

You’re probably asking, “How did you know that at such a young age?” It was actually pretty obvious to me. I would come off the field at the end of a game, having just scored three or more goals — every parent congratulating me like I just won an Oscar. But I always felt like I didn’t do enough, because it wasn’t hard for me. I could simply dribble by people and score without even trying. That’s when I realized I wanted to be on a team where I wasn’t always the best, and I wasn’t scoring three or more goals every game. I asked my parents if I could try out for a different club team, “Scorpions Soccer,” which was located about an hour away from my town.

This decision changed my life.

I made the team, and started travelling three times a week just for practice. Again, I was only 10 years old at the time and didn’t care or notice how much time it took for my parents to drive me back and forth. I was just having fun.

Eventually, I was traveling not only to practices, but also to tournaments in other states. My team (and our parents) traveled to New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, and other “close by” states. In eighth grade, we had Nationals in Colorado. By this time, I was ranked the #3 forward in Massachusetts, and this tournament was the first time college coaches came to scout my games. I was so excited to travel to Colorado – back then I thought it was “cool” even to just go to a hotel with my team.

My team and our parents met up at the gate in the Boston airport. We were all ecstatic to be flying on a plane together in matching travel outfits and bags. Once we landed in Colorado, we drove our rental cars to the hotel. Our team mom, who organized team practices, games, and tournaments, booked our hotel rooms. We arrived at the hotel, anxious to see what floor we’d be on (which was the most important thing at that time to us). As the team mom started calling off names and room numbers, my name and a teammate’s were not called. Our dads spoke with her, while my friend and I were unaware of the situation. We were busy looking at the hotel snacks.

Suddenly our dads walked over and told us the bad news. Our team mom had “made a mistake”. She accidentally forgot to book our hotel rooms, which left us without a room. We were supposed to be there for about a week, and now had nowhere to stay. We ended up having to stay at a different hotel, as the hotel we expected to stay at was booked out from the tournament. It was devastating for my friend and I. We felt left out from the rest of our teammates.

Even with these complications I still had a great time at the tournament. But if only our team mom had had the chance to book our rooms on, the entire problem could have been prevented.

Molly Tobin

Molly Tobin, the youngest of 3 sisters, is a Division 1 athlete serving as a midfielder on the Temple Owls Women's soccer team. Juggling the responsibilities of being an elite athlete and full-time scholar has taught Molly invaluable skills -- communication, time-management, leadership.When not studying or playing soccer, Molly enjoys relaxing at the beach, trying new restaurants in the city, and cooking for friends and family.

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