Devotion to SDSU’s volleyball women leads to exciting road trip

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper

Myself and three other men, spurred to action by a misguided sense of adventure and school spirit, hopped in a car at 12:30 a.m. last Saturday morning. Our destination: an obscure little town, somewhere in Michigan where the SDSU volleyball team had advanced to the Division II national championship match.

We were but a small faction of a larger group of men from the FarmHouse fraternity that had developed somewhat of a preoccupation with the sport of volleyball. While this particular road trip sprang from a pure desire to help the team win, the reason for our original interest in the sport last year was far from innocent. It was something about the uniform ? particularly the lower half. I know that comment won’t win me any fans among the feminist sect, but what can I say. Men are slobs. Anyhow, what began as a pathetically adolescent infatuation has since developed into a bona fide appreciation for the sport. (And I now have a serious girlfriend, so I’m no longer allowed to comment on the physiques or attire of the female athletes.)

We at FarmHouse now consider ourselves to be true and educated fans of the sport, not just pathetic admirers of the female body. We attended nearly every home game this year and a road game at Augustana. We hosted a dinner for the team at our house. We even had shirts made with the phrase “Nice Ace!” printed on the front. When the Jacks advanced to the national championship tournament, we knew we had to go.

Five of our members made the 12-hour journey to Michigan on Wednesday and watched the Jacks defeat Truman State and Grand Valley State prior to Saturday’s championship match. I was among the group who, because of annoying prior engagements like tests and research papers, settled for listening to the first two games on the radio. During the first game on Thursday, an idea slipped from my mouth before my brain was able to censor it, and before I knew it, three other men had volunteered to make the 800-mile trek to Michigan if the team won its semifinal match Friday. That match was scheduled for 6:30 p.m., meaning that we had to wait until at least 8:30 to see if the Jacks won, then pack our bags and head out. Our departure was further delayed, however, by one of my friends’ devotion to his part-time job watching sewage flow by at the water treatment plant. He didn’t get off work until 11:30 p.m.; hence, our 12:30 a.m. departure.

I contemplated forgoing the trip altogether, due to the invasion of my immune system Friday by the cold of the century. During class that day I blew my nose approximately 534 times, leaving a trail of mucus-moistened clumps of tissue paper all over campus. My traveling mates proposed several cures, the most popular of which was a large dose of cinnamon schnapps. I prudently decided on a treatment plan that included steady doses of drugs (the legal kind), vitamins and steaming cups of tea.

Lucky for me, the drugs knocked me out for the first six hours of the trip. I nearly missed our first adventure: getting lost on our way to pick up the fourth member of our group in Lennox, S.D. I don’t know what happened. When we turned off Interstate-29, I was slumped over in the back seat, sinking into a drug-induced haze. When I woke up and asked where we were, I found out that we had made a wrong turn and driven about 15 miles out of our way. We pulled into an approach to turn around and got stuck. They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step; well, our 800-mile journey to Michigan began with a two-hour, 60-mile trip to Lennox.

We eventually got out of South Dakota and made it to the game, but if you read the front page you already know that the volleyball team lost three straight games to Florida’s Barry University. For some members of our group, alcoholic beverages served to drown the disappointment. Exhaustion from the trip reduced others to sleep. After another 800 mile trip on Sunday, we arrived safely at home.

Was it worth the effort? Heck yes. If you haven’t ever attended an SDSU volleyball game, you should go to one next season. It’s a thrilling and fast-paced game, and SDSU has consistently been ranked in the nation’s top-10 for the past few years.

For males, there’s the added benefit of watching several attractive, college-aged women. But you didn’t hear that from me.

E-mail comments to Seth at [email protected].