There is a common suffering among most student athletes on this campus; the struggle of waiting for the shuttle. While Lawrence’s campus is on the north side of the Fox River, most of the athletic facilities are located on the south side, specifically Alexander Gym (most commonly referred to as Alex). While one could, and sometimes student athletes do, walk over to Alex, it is far longer than many want to walk. A car is basically required to reach any of the athletic facilities. To alleviate the necessity of a car for every student athlete, the Athletic Department provides a shuttle that runs back and forth between the Wriston turnaround and Alex during the afternoon.
While I am grateful for the shuttle and I think it provides a necessary service to athletes, I am frequently annoyed while waiting for the shuttle. Inevitably it seems that while you are waiting for the shuttle, you could walk over faster. During football season, the wait seems even longer as the shuttle route swings past the Banta Bowl to accommodate football practice. More than once or twice, my teammates and I have joked that there should be a ski-lift type system to get across the river because this would be faster.
Also, it seems that there are never enough seats on the shuttle right before practices start, roughly from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. More than once, I have gone to practice super early to allow my teammates with classes that end at 4:20 p.m. to have a space on the shuttle before track practice begins at 4:45 p.m. While most of the time shuttle trips consist of one or two students, the hour before practices start are frequently packed full. There is nothing more disappointing than seeing the shuttle come but being unable to get on it because it is already full. As someone on a shuttle that had to leave someone behind, you feel bad. Especially when you are trying to make it to practice, waiting for the shuttle to come back can be the difference between being on time and being late. Sometimes I just wonder, could there be a way to accommodate more students on the shuttle during these busy times?
Even with all of these complaints, I still enjoy the quick shuttle ride over to Alex. Coming to school at Lawrence, I did not worry about not having a car and getting to practice because I knew that the shuttle was there for me. In addition, the shuttle driver, Lynette, always greets you upon entering the shuttle. Her friendly smile, even on a bad day, never fails to lift my spirits. Lynette always listens to NPR, and I enjoy catching up on the news while riding over to Alex. The five-minute ride across the river could be an extremely boring experience, but thanks to Lynette, it becomes pleasant.
Despite how annoyed I may seem about the shuttle, I am extremely thankful for the service the university provides. Most student athletes have complained about the shuttle at one time or another, but when it comes down to it, the shuttle solves more problems than it creates. Without the shuttle, the student-athlete experience would be different as there is an uncommon bond among the students who are standing at the Wriston turnaround waiting for a white Lawrence University van to come around.