UCCS Softball Team Won't Forget the Hospitality of Wagon Mound

By Doug Fitzgerald published March 7, 2008

WAGON MOUND, N.M. - Colorado Springs has the Broadmoor, but New Mexico has Wagon Mound School. A town and school that was unknown to many of the members of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball team before Sunday, is now a place the team will remember fondly -- and thankfully.

The UCCS softball team competed against the University of New Mexico at Highlands this last weekend and was expecting a road trip similar to the many the team has been on in previous years; however, it was everything but.

While returning to Colorado Springs Sunday night, the team ran into whiteout conditions which required the bus to stop in Wagon Mound, N.M., a town of approximately 200 people. While the coaches debated if the bus should return to Las Vegas or continue toward Colorado Springs to find a hotel, the attendant at the local gas station called Kathy Martinez, an employee at Wagon Mound School. The school offered to open its doors to the UCCS softball team and others unable to continue on their paths due to the weather.

Although sleeping in a gym on a hardwood floor may sound uncomfortable, the people of Wagon Mound made it everything but. Upon walking into the school, the team was greeted by many people from the community who had come to open the school and prepare it for a large sleep over.

Within a short period of time, the school transformed. There were mats everywhere upon which to sleep, blankets for warmth, there was a projector playing a movie in the lobby, the concession stand was open with free food, the basketball courts were being used and a classroom was opened up offering internet access.

This was all made possible with a little help from the community. Once Martinez received the phone call from the attendant at the gas station, she began calling others in the town. People offered blankets and other necessities that made Wagon Mound a hotel for a night. Although unprepared for the situation, Wagon Mound has had some experience with similar situations as they have had to open their school doors to others in previous winters.

Though the Mountain Lions softball team was not stranded in New Mexico prior to this year, they have also been in similar situations in previous years. In 2004, the team got stuck on the way home from Hayes, Kan., requiring some of the girls and all of the coaches to stay in a bed and breakfast while the rest of the team and the trainer stayed in a church.

In Wagon Mound, the team was stranded as a whole. They bonded over multiple games of knock out (a basketball game), movies, and sleeping in close quarters on a gym floor. Waking up to Monday's school bell was the team's cue that it was time to return home.

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