The plane truth about road trips
Mar 9, 2009
I've been wondering what to write about for my next entry. As I write this I'm on the plane heading out to Sacramento for the beginning of our three-game West Coast trip. Sitting here I look around and realize the amount of time that we spend on planes during the season.
We have a charter plane which is extremely comfortable. The whole first section is made up of 12 first-class seats that recline all the way back so you can really stretch out. Also in the first section is a table with four big chairs connected to it. The middle section has two tables and about four chairs that are basically set up the same way. The back section is set up with 10 rows of normal seats.
The players sit in the front with the coaches in the middle and our training staff and people involved with the media in the back section. We have three flight attendants and two pilots along with John Gray, our director of security, to make sure everyone is on their best behavior.
I go to look out the window and there is a foot draped over my seat by the person behind me. I turn the other way and notice another foot about 3 inches from my ear. This is not a normal foot, mind you, it's about the size of a roll of paper towels. I turn around and see Roy with his feet on my chair and one of those neck pillows that is the shape of an inflated horseshoe around his neck. On his head is a Phillies cap that is 2 seconds away from falling off.
He's sitting next to Travis, which I find very interesting. You have to watch Travis because he can be very tricky on flights. Roy has an expensive bag he uses as a carry-on and on our last flight from Boston, Travis thought it would be a good idea to hide a meatball in it.
Now, this was not a meatball in tin foil or anything but a meatball with pasta sauce and parmesan cheese on it. Roy was not amused, to say the least. He looked like he was going to stuff Trav in an overhead compartment for the flight.
This was not this first time Travis has struck (and, unfortunately, probably not the last).
Earlier in the season he got Jeff with a related prank. I can't remember exactly what kind of food he doctored up that Jeff was going to eat but he got him pretty good. The retaliation was even better. One plane ride the flight attendant served fish (needless to say most of us passed on that one) but Jeff got a platter to go.
He got out to Travis' car and put the fish under his back seat. It was so cold out that Travis had no idea that the fish was there until the next day. His car smelled like the kitchen of Bonefish Grill. Since then they have called a truce.
At the table next to me, some of the guys are playing a friendly game of cards. Danny is a couple rows behind me singing. It's not quite at the top of his lungs but it's close. The songs he sings are the type of songs you listen to late at night with your lady -- which is unexpected in this atmosphere.
The funny thing is that he's really not that bad. I should have added him as a good thing for men to do for Valentine's Day: hire Danny Granger to sing to you and your valentine.
T.J. is across the aisle and a couple rows back. What is amazing about him is he has every movie you could possibly want to watch -- Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler, even old favorites like Wild Things.
He has the most current one which make the flights go by very smoothly. The rest of the guys sleep, which is a talent I wish I possessed because when we hit turbulence these guys are out cold and I'm ready to put the pilot in a headlock.
I'm still waiting for my favorite part of the ride, the cookies. A little more than halfway through, the flight attendants make chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies. Now these cookies are either cooked to perfection and the best things you could eat or they are the texture of pudding and fall apart in your lap and stain up your clothes. It makes no difference if the flight is long or short, you can find both kinds.
Before each flight I go up and ask the pilot how the flight is going to be, either smooth or bumpy, and I've found that no matter what they say the flight is nothing like they say.
Here are a few of my favorites:
# "Light chop:" we are going to have a few intermittent bumps but nothing to really worry about.
# "Uneven pockets of air:" the flight is going to be smooth the all of a sudden all hell is going to break loose.
# "Smooth:" Supposed to be no bumps but it's probably my definition of a light chop.
# "Consistent chop:" good night nurse, you'd better pack a lunch with this one (only about three or four a year are like this).
So that's pretty much our plane. We supposedly are an hour and 45 minutes away from Sacramento and the cookies have been delivered and I'm going to need to have some dry cleaning done tonight.