The Washburn men’s basketball team got much more than it bargained for when it took a late-November trip to Hawaii for a tournament.
The Ichabods had the opportunity to play three games in the Aloha State. The first two games were in Hilo for the Hawaii-Hilo Thanksgiving Classic and the final one on the main island, Laie. But the trip to paradise was anything but that.
“It was like Murphy’s law. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” said junior forward Christian Ulsaker.
It all began in Dallas when Washburn’s flight to the Laie was delayed and the team was forced to stay overnight. As a repercussion of the delayed flight from Dallas, the team missed its scheduled flight from Laie to Hilo. Unfortunately, once they were able to reach Hilo, the Bods had missed their first game, which then had to be rescheduled.
Two members of the Washburn team were injured in their first game against the University of Hawaii at Hilo Vulcans.
After falling to the Vulcans and topping Northwest Indian College, the Ichabods caught their flight back to the main island.
The team reached Laie on time and played Brigham Young University – Hawaii. Washburn fell to the BYU-Hawaii Seasiders in a high-scoring match, 80-90.
Despite the ups and downs, the team and coaches remained in good spirits and spent some downtime enjoying Hawaii and its beautiful beaches.
“It was a once-in-a-life-ime trip to go to a place like that with 15 of your closest friends,” said senior forward Alex North.
But the troubles weren’t over yet.
Due to a plane malfunction, the team was stranded in the airport until 11 at night, waiting for a flight home. When it became evident there would be no plane to take them home, everyone was shuttled back to the hotel and remained there until returning to the airport the next day.
The team was then told someone was being flown in from Los Angeles to fix the plane, but until that person arrived, the team, coaches, trainers and parents were left to wait once again.
To top it all off, everyone’s luggage had already been sent to their flight destination.
“The worst part of the airport issues…we were stuck there without any clean clothes,” North remarked.
The trip to Hawaii had started with travel problems and finished with them. Another day and night went by with the plane still out of commission, and no other aircraft were available.
The airline booked flights with Delta for team members whose parents had accompanied them on the trip. Those fortunate players and their families headed home, while the remaining players and coaches were left to wait several more hours.
Then, at last, a flight was sent from Los Angeles to pick up the Ichabods.
Upon return to Kansas, the team fit in two practices before its game against Southwest Baptist University.
“The jetlag the first day and getting acclimated to Kansas time was a little difficult, but it wasn’t too bad,” Ulsaker said.
With its fair share of trials and tribulations, the team was still able to add another win to the record, beating Southern Baptist University, 68-56 .
Above all else, the Bods were grateful to experience Hawaii with their teammates and coaches and become a more unified group of players.