Road trips driving Cougars closer together

The team will play three games today in the Lead Off Classic.
Friday, March 10, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:12 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 13, 2008

Marcy Dotson came out of nowhere with tweezers in her hand and a smile on her face. She jumped on Stephanie Kababie as she sat quietly reading her book on a three-hour bus ride back from a softball tournament in Springfield last weekend. There was not much that Kababie could do at this point. Dotson had just plucked one of her eyebrows. Now the only thing that Kababie could do was let her pluck the other one.

Last year, Dotson decided to open up her own “beauty salon” on the bus that the Columbia College softball team takes to tournaments.

“I just decided to start plucking eyebrows,” Dotson said. “Then I wanted to cut someone’s hair. So I cut Lindsey’s (Williams), and I totally butchered it. Now Stephanie jokes with me that she is going to shut down my beauty salon. She says she doesn’t trust me, but I know she does.”

Trust is one of the things the Cougars try to get out of every road trip.

“We love road trips,” Kababie said. “We just bond a lot. You just get to know everybody so much better. You start to get to be like a family.”

For the Cougars, road trips are more than just travel time, they are opportunities to laugh, joke and take pictures. They are opportunities for 15 people to make a bond that goes beyond the playing field.

The Cougars left early Thursday morning for one of their longest drives of the year. After a 12-hour trip, the Cougars will play in the Lead Off Classic Tournament this weekend in LaGrange, Ga. And yes, Dotson did take her tweezers with her.

Dotson said that the bonding that will occur on the trip is almost as important as the tournament itself.

“We need to get along on road trips,” Dotson said. “If we don’t, we have no basis. We need to bond on these trips so we can trust each other. I think the road trip will set the tone. We need to spend time together, that’s what this team needs.”

Kababie agrees.

“The way we feel about each other off the field directly affects the way we play on the field,” Kababie said.

The Cougars might need more than some team bonding and plucked eyebrows this weekend. Thirteen of the 24 teams in the tournament are nationally ranked with No. 3 Oklahoma City leading the way.

The Cougars are scheduled to start play at 10 a.m. today against No. 17 St. Gregory’s (Okla.). The Cougars will then play at 4 p.m. against Virginia-Wise and then again at 6 p.m. against No. 14 Spring Hill (Ala.). Friday’s results will determine the Cougars’ opponent when bracket play starts on Saturday.

The Cougars are not nationally ranked going into the tournament, but Kababie said this weekend is a big opportunity for the Cougars.

“We really want to make a point,” Kababie said. “We only use the no ranking to motivate us. It doesn’t get us down. It’s just a hurdle that we can get over. We were just misjudged, and we are happy and willing to do what it takes to prove them wrong.”

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