This item originally appeared in the February 3, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.
Experience is the best teacher.
As in any experience in life, one can't fully comprehend or appreciate the accomplishments of varsity athletics on the road until one has walked in the shoes of these athletes.
Nor can one fully respect the mental and physical fatigue derived from the demanding schedule and distance of a Western Athletic Conference road trip until one has lived it.
Nor can one comprehend the careful balance between the mental strain of focus and preparation on winning Division I athletics versus the stress of eligibility requirements and performance in the classroom until one has experienced it.
Unfortunately, next to Hawaii, Tech has the toughest travel schedule in the WAC and one of the most grueling schedules in the country because of the separation between schools.
Finances strap Tech athletics to fly commercially instead of the chartered flights that other schools' padded pocket books provide, and this leads to extended lay overs and snail bus rides.
However, since joining the WAC four years ago, all Tech sports have overcome these adversities well, but the Lady Techsters have continued superiority at home and on the road.
In their fourth WAC season, the Lady Techsters are perfect in conference home games at 31-0 and slightly blemished with a 29-3 road record, while reigning as the three-time defending conference champions.
Even though the Lady Techsters lost to the Boise State University Broncos this past weekend, one must applaud Tech's 8-1 record in conference thus far, considering the WAC has the 7th highest Rating Percentage Index of 32 conferences in women's basketball by collegeRPI.com.
ESPN also ranks Tech for the 16th toughest schedule in the country of 324 collegiate teams.
Even with a 12-5 overall record, the Lady Techsters will continue Tech's winning tradition with another conference championship and a run in the NCAA tournament.
The Lady Techsters have excelled at overcoming the mental and physical fatigue of road trips versus the balance of performance on the hardwood and in the classroom.
Varsity athletes are required to maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and pass four hours per quarter toward their major.
Many programs struggle with academics or lose players to eligibility, but the Lady Techsters' dedication to success overflows into the classroom as well.
And despite the battles on separate fronts, Tech continues winning. Show your support for the Lady Techsters, as they play Fresno State and Nevada this weekend at home.
Josh Milton is a senior journalism major from Ruston and serves as sports editor for The Tech Talk.