This week's blog brings a new segment of team sports travel as I have been assigned to be in Atlanta for the weekend and transport Atlanta's first professional soccer team , the Atlanta United Football Club . Being it's a first for me I had no idea what to expect in this movement nor the size of the crowds that would be at Georgia Tech Football Stadium on Sunday but that soon would come into sharp focus! Upon arriving for pickup I noticed the players are from all over the world . Having been to Argentina a few times and knowing their official drink is called Matte , seeing one of the playing drinking this as he got on the bus I knew he was from Argentina. The team arranged a police escort from the pickup location in the northern suburbs in order for use to wind our way thru the maze of Atlanta traffic going to the game and just normal everyday Atlanta traffic and boy the police escort really does help out because no telling how long it would take for us to navigate to the game on our own. All NFL football and most college football teams provide a escort for us thankfully from the airport to team hotel on game day and return to the airport for departure.
As we arrived at Bobby Dodd Stadium I immediately saw a huge crowd of fans waiting to greet their new soccer team and the police escort and security formed a wedge of opening so I could get to the drop off point. The fans were definitely excited and pumped for the pre game activities. For baseball football and basketball you never see this kind of crowd size to greet a team. I did learn at the game attendance was listed at exceeding 55,000 fans. We as drivers usually have passes or are allowed into the games we drive to and being an Atlanta first I definitely wanted to see this inaugural game. Quickly I realized how in Europe crowds can get out of control because these fans were not your American football or baseball fans , they were fans within an edge and I'm sure the alcohol helps that. I did get to see the first goal in the history of the Atlanta United but it wasn't enough as they fell to defeat to the New York Inferno 2-1. A quite ride back to their hotel late Sunday and before I begin the 2 1/2 hour ride back home I took a quick ride by to see the new Atlanta Braves new stadium that is set to open in a month in North Atlanta . We do a lot of work with the Braves as well as many other Major League teams across the country.
It's a short layover after getting home at 4:00 am. Tuesday it's back to Raleigh to begin a week's worth of traveling with NC State baseball to Wilmington vs Wake Forest University to open up the 2017 ACC Conference schedule. A unique thing that stood out was going to Athens Georgia for an airport transfer of the school's Equestrian team. I was given a tour of their barns and facility and learned some new things about a this collegiate sport. Something you may not know is that the SEC Conference has 4 Equestrian teams that compete- University of Georgia , University of South Carolina , Texas A&M, and Auburn .
Our next blog will begin with a segment on the various off field sports personnel and their roles in helping to put the student athletes onto the athletic field. Until then Troopbus be rolling down the highway!
#atlantaunited #troopbus #Pack9 #NCStateBaseball #whatsnewatblue
Today the owner of Blue Ridge Tours is setting out on a new adventure into the world of blogging. Thru the gentle nudging of his wife Donna, Steve is going to take us behind the scenes of the sports world as well as the school educational field trip world from the front seat of the motorcoach- yes the driver's seat !. He has a unique job that as well as being the owner of Blue Ridge Tours for the past 29 years, Steve is also a motorcoach tour driver for Champion Coach in Greenville Sc whose speciality is providing bus service for college and professional sports teams. Steve has been with the company since its inception 19 years ago and drives many sports teams on their road trips. He's done this for many years driving teams such as the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, New York Yankees, New York Mets, University of South Carolina sports,Duke basketball ,and the list could go on. But the team that is the closest to his heart and is his true sports family is the North Carolina State University baseball team. He has been blessed to be starting his 8th season with the team under Head Coach Elliott Avent . A large portion of the blog will touch on the 2017 road schedule of the NC State baseball team and the weekly events that go on behind the scenes of what it takes to put a sports team on the field. Most fans only see what happens on the field but there is so much that happens off the field that is equally important to delivering the players to perform on the field . Through this blog you will see what it takes for a team to travel on the road for multiple days, what game day is like before the game begins, when weather hampers play, get away days and more.
One piece of advisement from Steve is not to be looking for that juicy bit of gossip or personal information about the teams, coaches or staff. He believes in the sanctity of "what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse" and being a team driver for teams we do see and hear personal events or situations that can be negative but He feels that those things should stay off these kinds of pages and stay on the bus . There is enough good positive information that will be shared through the next several weeks. The 2017 baseball season road trip schedule begins today for NC State as we are at the University of North Carolina Greensboro for a mid week game .
Finally Steve has for many years worked with journalism and writing various magazine articles for the South Carolina Trooper Magazine. Steve is a retired South Carolina Trooper and for a few years served as a writer and magazine coordinator for the magazine. Along with his 32 years of driving tour buses along side his career of being a state trooper he has "seen and heard it all out here on the road" as they say . Through this blog we hope to put some of the memories down on paper and to be able to share the up close and personal nature of being a sports team bus driver and bring to you the behind the scenes details about what it takes to bring a sports team to your living room or to you the fans in the stands.
I will plan to bring this blog every week around the beginning of the week and highlight what has transpired the previous week on the road with the various teams he is traveling with. College basketball will be in the picture for the first few weeks as the college season heads to the finish line and college baseball heats up to being in full swing and as April comes so will Major League Baseball from around the country as we prepare to get the major leaguers to their respective ball parks. So enjoy the ride and play ball!
#letbluewowyou # teambrt
#brtfieldtrips # #brtschooltours
Well this past the week the wheels on the bus began to turn fast and furious as tour drivers everywhere begin to get busy with the spring workload. For those of us doing sports it's equally busy as college basketball seasons winds to a close with their various conference championships going on and college baseball kicking off their seasons. So for me that means the start of a hectic springtime. In the early part of the week I bounced around Burlington ,NC transporting Northeastern University basketball playing Elon University and then we travelled down to the NC coast to play UNC Wilmington. After dropping Northeastern off at the Wilmington airport I needed to hustle back to Raleigh and meet the Duke University men's basketball team flying in on a charter flight from Miami and transport them back to the campus. Prior to unloading the team their head coach Mike Krzyzewski gave his team a pep talk and it was interesting to listen to a future hall of fame coach and how he talks to them in a locker room type environment on the bus. You know he knows how to win and motivate. Then in the morning I went back to Duke to transport the Duke women's basketball,team to Chapel Hill to play UNC Chapel Hill at Carmichael Arena. Interesting halftime show got to watch the various minor league baseball team mascots and NASCAR mascots play a shot game in their outfits. Pretty hilarious we never know what we'll see out here. Getting back to campus we see the famous Krzyzewskiville inhabitants camped out waiting to get in line for the men's basketball game Tuesday against Florida State. The fans are rabid at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Finally my favorite time of the spring is here traveling with the NC State baseball team and a short trip to UNC Greensboro which we won that afternoon. Always great to see last years players who were eager to give the fist bump and high fives since this year I can walk with no pain since having two knee replacements in the off season. It was a terribly painful year last year but the coaches and team helped get me thru it. Big hugs from my favorite coach Head Coach Elliott Avent who I highly respect and admire along with his coaching staff. It's just great to be back with He team and now to begin learning the new players names. I make it a point to know every player on the team by their first name as quickly as a can but this year we have quite a few new players on the team so I have quite task ahead. Heading back to Raleigh the bus is usually quite even after a win and Coach Avent always wants to know if I'm going back to Greenville SC after dropping them off at their stadium and wants to be sure I'm feeling good and rested to do it. It's a rather long boring 4 hour 250 mile journey I make quite often during baseball season and after helping get equipment off the bus and farewells till the next road game I head off down that dark lonely Interstate 85 towards home and a day off.
#Pack9 #NCState Baseball
#letbluewowyou # teambrt
#brtfieldtrips # #brtschooltours
My name is Steve Sulligan, I started my law enforcement career in 1979 retiring in