For as long as sports have existed, one of the fundamental tenets of being an athlete are road trips. Since every game from youth travel leagues to the pros have a home team and an away team, any player who has ever stepped onto a field, court or rink naturally becomes accustomed to life away from home.
For many players in the NLL, each weekend is a road trip, regardless of where their team plays. Only five players on the Swarm roster actually live in Minnesota during the season (Forwards Scott Jones, Shayne Jackson and Corbyn Tao and defensemen Alex Crepinsek and Jordan Houtby). The rest spend their weeks at home all across the U.S. and Canada and fly to Minnesota each weekend for practices and games.
The result of this fact is that when the Swarm are finally all together, chances are it is in a hotel, airplane, bus or restaurant. When you have all these grown men cooped up together, there are bound to be a few stories to tell. So MNSwarm.com tracked down transition players David Earl and Tyler Hass and goaltender Zach Higgins and asked them what life on the road is like with the Swarm. Along with learning what are the necessary items to have when stuck in the airport, it is revealed which Swarm player might have a soft spot for watching a certain dating reality show.
What keeps you pre-occupied during long flights and bus rides?
Earl: Lots of reading and listening to music. During the winter especially you have to be prepared for delays left and right so having a quality book and playlist set up in case of any problems is big. Nothing worse than being stuck in the airport with nothing to do.
Higgins: Either sleep or using my iPad.
Hass: Lots of movies and cards.
What is your favorite city to play in (NLL or other) and why?
Earl: Denver. I just really enjoy flying into the city. The views are of unbelievable, the city is fun, and the stadium we play in is always packed with a solid crowd.
Higgins: Minnesota because it’s always great to play in front of the home crowd.
Hass: Minnesota- very loyal fans and it’s nice to see familiar faces in the stands.
Who has been your roommate(s) on road trips so far this year?
Earl: Tyler Hass has been the roommate I've had the most.
Higgins: Cameron Flint, Jordan Houtby, Scott Jones, David Earl and Logan Schuss.
Hass: David Earl and Dane Stevens mostly.
Who has the control over the TV Remote and what is usually on the TV?
Earl: I would say it is pretty evenly shared throughout the stay. We usually go for a good movie that is on or check out the big basketball games that tend to be on during the weekends.
Higgins: Myself because I get in early on travel days, and the roommates I’ve had nap in the day. For what is on the TV, any kind of live sports or movies.
Hass: Dave Earl has control and he is always watching The Bachelor.
Who on the team would be the ideal roommate and why?
Earl: I get along with everyone on the team so with that said, anyone who does NOT snore. I can deal with any kinds of background sounds outside of snoring when trying to sleep. Hass does not snore so he falls under the ideal roommate.
Higgins: Kiel Matisz because he is the nicest guy on the team.
Hass: As long as you don’t snore, I’m good.
Who would be the absolute worst roommate, and why?
Earl: Anyone who snores = no sleep.
Higgins: I’ve got to go with myself for the lovely smelly goalie equipment.
Hass: Anybody who watches The Bachelor.
What has been the best hotel prank you have seen or been a part of?
Earl: Mitch Belisle got me pretty good last year. When I was watching a game and playing cards with a bunch of other players in a different room, he snuck into my room and flipped my mattress upside down but kept the top cover on. I went back to get into bed a few hours later (extremely tired) and I opened up my cover to the opposite side of the mattress. It was not the cleanest thing I've ever seen... The following weekend I returned the favor...
Higgins: I had this roommate at school whenever we went on trips would take the money out of my wallet and stick the bills throughout the pages in a bible.
Hass: I try to stay away from those, they can get out of control quickly.
I know you guys have it easy now, but over your whole career, where is the worst place you have had a team meal?
Earl: Nothing really comes to mind.
Higgins: Way too many to remember the absolute worst place from my collegiate days.
Hass: A Swiss Chalet (Note: Swiss Chalet is a Canadian chain restaurant that specializes in ribs and rotisserie chicken. It would be akin to a place like Boston Market in the U.S.)
What three possessions can you never be without on the road?
Earl: Phone, wallet, headphones.
Higgins: iPad, Nexus card and equipment.
Hass: iPod, phone and passport.