At some point Friday afternoon, Carolyn Witherspoon will pack up her 2008 Chevrolet Impala with two of her children and will begin her drive.
The 10-hour trip to Washington, D.C. seems exhausting, but it isn't overwhelming for veteran travelers like the Witherspoons. Carolyn and her husband Will have spent years traveling all over the country to follow their children - Berkmar grads William, Wynton, Whitley and Wesley - to their athletic events.
This season has been the busiest with both Wynton, a George Washington senior, and Wesley, a Memphis freshman, starting on college basketball teams.
This weekend's trip is the most unique. The family was excited to see on the schedules that GWU and Memphis both played Saturday in D.C., which would allow them to double up on the same trip. But there was a dilemma - both play at the exact same time, 2 p.m.
"So we're watching half of one game and half of the other," said Carolyn, who plans to take a cab at halftime of Memphis' game from the Verizon Center to the Smith Center.
Despite the frequent travel involved, the Witherspoons rarely miss their children's games. Carolyn, although she has some friends who accompany her occasionally, typically drives alone to road games because she has the freedom of getting off early from her real estate job. Her husband Will, as he will do this weekend, gets off later in the day from his job with the IRS, so he also drives alone.
Out of 11 combined college games for Wynton and Wesley this season, Carolyn has missed just two, one because she didn't want to drive by herself to Boston. Her 2008 Impala already has 50,000-plus miles on it.
This weekend her car, in addition to oldest son William and daughter Whitley, a junior at Valdosta State, will have a small, pre-lit Christmas tree. The tight family won't be able to celebrate Christmas together because GWU will be playing in California and Hawaii, so they're bringing a mini-Christmas celebration and presents for Wynton.
"I'm so excited, we're all excited," Carolyn said of the weekend. "The kids love being together. They're crazy about each other. They laugh and joke with each other. It's going to be a lot of fun."
The travel will be much different next season. Wesley likely will be at Memphis, but Wynton hopes to pursue pro basketball overseas.
"That will be a lot harder, won't it?" Carolyn said. "You can't drive to those. I've got my passport though."
Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Thursdays.