Roughly estimated, I traveled more than half a million miles during my former broadcast tenure. When one takes to the skies and roadways as frequently as I did, there are bound to be hiccups, mishaps and plain bad luck along the way.
Take the time I was heading to South Dakota via Minneapolis, in blizzard-like conditions. We hit Sioux Falls with a 35 mph crosswind at the airport. Have you ever been in a 737 as it did a touch-and-go? I have, and it is not my first choice of air maneuvers. The pilot then got on the intercom to inform us the maximum crosswind on those planes is in fact 35 mph, but he thought he would “give it a shot.” Back to Minneapolis we went for the evening.
I was with a baseball team when an accident on Interstate 5 caused us to miss our flight to Kansas. The airline then let us know our only option was to fly our luggage ahead to Kansas City that evening, but we would be on a plane to Dallas and then fly to Kansas City the next day. So, we grabbed just a few things that we could carry and boarded a plane to Dallas and embarked to join our luggage the following day wearing our same attire from the previous day.
I once was on a plane so small connecting from Phoenix to Flagstaff that there was actually a bench style seat in the rear of the cabin. The airline didn’t let a few of us board initially because of weight concerns. I then planned to rent a car and make the drive before the nice lady at the gate informed me “they moved some baggage around” and we were good to go.
I then asked her, “Are you sure? You went from a flight that was too heavy and solved the problem with rearranging a few things?” She insisted I board and once in my seat someone asked the rhetorical question about our tiny aircraft, “How high do you think this plane gets?” Knowing Flagstaff sits at 6,000 feet, I responded with “it only needs to get to 6,001.”
With every plane came a series of charter buses as well and some issues along the way. I once had an entire team come down with an illness heading back to the airport, the bus driver, too. He had a coach sitting behind him take the wheel so he could use the trash can sitting next to him if you catch my drift.
Also, being the radio talent sometimes you get left out of the total passenger count. I have been left behind in arenas after games three times, once in Cincinnati where I walked to the top of the campus athletic complex to wait for the driver to return, that’s when I caught a sign for “Marge Schott Field.” This was obviously prior to when racist rants cost you the naming rights to facilities. I guess as long as the check cashed the Bearcats were willing to look the other way for the former Cincinnati Reds owner.
Got left after a road win one season in San Antonio. Victories on the road were so rare for us that year the head coach said, “Sorry we left you. We’re not used to winning on the road so we just got too excited and left.”
My final season found me arriving at an empty loading dock in Dayton, Ohio, after a tournament victory. Since the team manager is responsible for the head count, I took to social media and tagged him a photo of where the bus was supposed to be with “you had one job.” He called me a minute later to let me know the bus would be turning around once they dropped the team off at dinner. By this point, it was more funny than annoying.
All those white lines and baggage claims eventually led back to Tehachapi and to home after years of a vagabond lifestyle that left me with plenty of stories to tell, and a wonderful audience to tell them to.
Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter and broadcaster. A THS graduate, he now resides in Tehachapi. He can be reached at email@example.com. The opinions expressed are his own.