When you are on the team bus, you are family. Not in poetic or fanciful ways. Not in slight or saccharine ways. You are family, real and tangible and messily entangled. You are forced into close proximity with people that you don’t always choose, but with whom you share a common mission. You dress in your best, present your best, while sitting with people who have shared in your failures. You converse with the ease that only siblings know. You laugh and shout and try to carve out some quiet moment of solace for yourself amidst the cacophony. When you disembark, all of you, the team, return to your separate lives. Not in the locker room, not on the field, will you ever be this close. This familial. That experience stays with you.
Everyone who has ridden the team bus knows this. We all recognize and feel the loss of family.