Life on the Road: Screaming Eagles Bus to Spokane
There is no quick, easy or cheap way for an Indoor Football League team to travel 730 miles. But for Matthew Sauk, head coach of the Screaming Eagles, long trips are another way for his team to improve.
"Twelve hours on a bus are never fun, but you kind of like trips like this because it helps the team bond and get closer together," Sauk says as his team travels from West Valley City to Spokane, Wash., for their Week 6 matchup with the Spokane Empire.
The Empire are the most geographically separated team in the league. With the Tri Cities Fever opting for dormancy during the 2017 season, the Screaming Eagles are now the only team located within 1,000 miles.
The team departed West Valley City shortly after midnight on Wednesday night, arriving in Spokane around noon on Thursday. Following a walk-through, players are given free time to sleep, study the playbook, eat or wander around town.
"Sometimes you worry about guys with a lot of free time on the road, but our team leaders have set the tone - this is a business trip."
With the heavy travel the day prior to gameday, game preparation, focus and leadership become all that more important, although Coach Sauk -- on his first road trip as head coach -- continues praising his team's work ethic and expressing confidence in their leadership.
"I feel like we're very focused - it was a short week of practice but guys were really dialed in because we know we could have beat Spokane and we want that 'W' this week."
As for the team's digestive habits on the road? There's room for a lot of improvement.
"He will be fired and flown home because he has been cutting farts that sound like someone was ripping a denim jacket in half," says Sauk of an unidentified bus passenger. "We love our partnership with Dickey's, but we may ask them to cut out the baked beans before travel days because the first half of this bus ride was basically the campfire scene from Blazing Saddles."
Welcome to the IFL, ladies and gentlemen.