Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Two Sides of Punishment

There are two sides to the phrase "my sport is your sports punishment".  On one hand the 80 - 90 miles a week I ran in college are enough to make people gasp when I tell them.  "You ran more than I drove my car" is the response that I often got from folks.  I guess you could say I had really high PMT (personal miles traveled).

But at the same time I cringe when sports coaches use running laps as a punishment.  This does not teach the joys of running or the personal accomplishment and fulfillment that occurs when you finish a marathon or a long run.  Rather it instills a hatred of running, often life long, that in my opinion steals away something that could be beneficial and dare I say, enjoyable if someone at least gave it an honest try.

So you can imagine how I feel when a humble mode of transportation is used as punishment. Had you heard this one?  The one where the Virginia Tech football coach decided to send his kicker home on a Greyhound Bus from the Sugar Bowl because he had stayed out past curfew.  I'm not against punishment for violating team rules, but does it have to be a mode of transportation?  Does it have to further stigmatize the only option that some Americans have?  This seems to me to be more windshield perspective from the wider world.

It was even the cover of the playbook.  "The Greyhound Experience" and ESPN proudly showed it during one of its talk breaks during the game. Perhaps I have it wrong though. Is this the free market at work? Maybe it is proof of how bad our transportation system is that it takes a whole day of travel and three transfers to get between two US cities when according to Google Maps, which is generally extra time, the trip should only take 13 hours in a car, or half the time of the bus trip.  In other words, we've handicapped trips on alternative modes so much that anyone going by bus would have to be crazy.  Or poor. Or punished.  And we wonder why we can't convince people that there's a better way.


7 comments:

OctaviusIII said...

My brother-in-law needs to commute once a week from San Rafael, CA, to Marysville, CA. It's a 3-hour car trip, so I thought I'd shave some time and money by doing Grayhound. Turns out that would be a 16 hour slog with two transfers and an overnight stay in Sacramento. I feel for this kicker.

Sid Burgess said...

Great point about running being a punishment. I played a lot of soccer as a kid and running laps was certainly not considered fun by anyone on the team. It wasn't until later during my military beginnings that I started to appreciate running, especially in groups.

Bob Davis said...

One of these days I'll write up my experiences in July 1977, when I went from El Monte (suburb of Los Angeles) to Boston and back on Greyhound. I would have gone on Amtrak but it was $180 one way on the train and $75 on the Doggy Bus. I've dubbed the trip "The Dog Tired Tour."

J.D. Hammond said...

There are plenty of buses that are perfectly nice, at least in the eastern half of the country, but Greyhound is pretty insufferable. When was the last time you tried it?

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

I haven't been on a bus in a while. I don't doubt that Greyhound is pretty bad, but at the same time, how many of those nicer buses are going to serve the different markets that might need it?

D. P. Lubic said...

Off topic, but for those who are interested and perhaps haven't checked the site real recently, The Infrastructurist announced it was suspending operations as of Jan. 6, 2011, apparently at least in part because its writers and editors found other work. You may want to check what's on it before it goes away entirely.

Anonymous said...

To be fair to the bus system, that route duplicates a daily Amtrak train, so it is not surprising to see poor bus service on it. If not being punished he could take the train, and save a buck and an hour or so. It is still painfully slow for our trains, but shouldn't be surprising that Greyhound tries to compliment and not duplicate train service.