By: Neil Cunningham
Head Women’s Soccer Coach
When you are a college soccer coach, the month of March is an exciting one. The previous two months have been quiet, weather has been horrible and March brings that sense of new optimism that the next recruiting class might just be the best ever. So the tournament planning begins and it’s time to hit the road and air to find the next All-American.
I love recruiting. I love to hit the road and scout future players. What I do not like to do is fly! I should explain that it is not for some fear of flying, but more the insane and inexplicable things that happen that are completely beyond your control and no matter how many times you see them happening they still leave me with that unanswered question: “Are you kidding me….”
Let me elaborate here and please feel free to reply and let me know if it is just me or a regular occurrence.
1. Finding your seat.
The last time I checked, seat numbers went up one number at a time starting at 1 ( even though I never get to sit here) and ending with a much higher number like 30 for example. If your little ticket stub says 20F it means your row comes after 19 and if you get to 21 you have gone too far. Why must people hold their ticket up to their eyes and then read every row number as they move slowly back to their assigned seat. Do they really think that Row 20 will just suddenly jump out at them after Row 8? Do you really think the person who put those numbers on the seat rows had a sick sense of humor and were trying to trick you? Did you not get past kindergarten math and therefore struggle with counting in sequence?
2. Where have you been?
Probably my favorite ritual when traveling has to be the line to get through security. It’s like a reunion for every school bully in America. Put your lotions in a clear zip lock; take your belt off; shoes off; if you have a laptop…; do not put your kid on the conveyor belt; and the list of instructions that get barked at you go on and on. Oh I feel safer already J
However the one that kills me is the person of zero intelligence that does not understand what a metal detector does for a living.
Picture the scene: Man walks ( it’s always a man, because we are stupid!) through the metal detector. BEEP BEEP.
“ Sir do you have any metal in your pockets.”
“ Yes, I have some lose change”
Please put your lose change in the bin and try again.
“ Sir do you have any metal in your pockets.”
“Just my keys”
At this point the TSA person should be perfectly within his right to protect the National Security of the country by beating this person with a big stick and branding them with a : “Not allowed to Fly for being an Idiot”
3. Dress Code
I do not pretend to be Mr GQ but I would be in favor of instituting some sort of dress code on anyone flying. Have you looked around you and seen what people wear to travel? You clearly have no respect for yourself but have a little courtesy for the fellow man here. Men should not be wearing Tank Tops. ( there is an argument for never, but I can settle for just not in public when you are sitting next to me?) Wear some shoes please. The only thing more amazing than a guy travelling like this is the fact that the woman accompanying him, who I might add looks fantastic, lets him out of the house. Are you kidding me. I am well aware that it’s nice to be comfortable but there are other options here. I think there is a direct correlation here between e-tickets and a worsening dress code. When there were live people at check in, they would look you up and down and roll their eyes, and think to themselves “What in the world was he thinking…) Next time I see someone dressed like this I will call airport security and save my fellow passenger from having to sit next to this person , often in the dreaded middle seat, for the interest of National Security.
4. The line at Car Rental
You have been travelling all day. Left at 4am to get to the airport 3 hours early in case of traffic ( my dad always did this) , sat next to the family with 8 kids, endured being violated many times by the airline company including the people that took $25 for the privilege of taking your bag with you, and then to cap off the perfect day you arrive at the place to pick up your rental car to find a nice long line. Oh well, what’s another 45 minutes. So there are 10 people ahead of you and two people working. You start to do the math and realize it may be a while. Finally, I am next in line. I make sure I have my credit card out, drivers license ready to go and wait for the starters gun. Unbelievable! When it’s my turn one of the 2 staff goes on break. Can you believe that? There is no-one behind me. Can you not wait for that cigarette? Its 11.30pm.
So I finally get a very irritated unhappy worker (not many of them about) and they are just miserable.
“ Mr Cunningham. I have a nice Mercedes for an extra $ 75 dollars a day if you want to upgrade”
No thanks I will stay with my Kia wind up car
“ Would you like the coverage for an extra $50 per day”
No thanks. Now she is really mad. They lecture you on the fact that you are now responsible for the vehicle and if anything happens to it….
“Would you like to purchase Gas at $8 a gallon or fill it up yourself?
When you reply that you can fill it up yourself the person reminds you that if the gas tank is not returned full you will be charged $17 a gallon to fill it up.
At this point I just want a car and to get to my hotel. It’s no wonder it takes so long.