We’re more than 24 hours into our trip to Washington, DC, with the boys and girls cross country teams from Saint Ignatius College Prep, and the coaches this morning were laughing that we have only seen a boy talking to a girl a handful of times.
Status report of the moment: After an 8:00 AM breakfast, we’re in our Residence Inn hotel rooms waiting to leave for Georgetown Prep at 11:30. We’re traveling old school, on public transportation, riding the Red line Metro two stops from Bethesda to Grosvenor-Strathmore. I remember the benefactor for our trip, Ray Mayer, telling me that in 1951 his Ignatius team went to meets the same way–public transportation.
But back to the boys and girls story:
We took separate buses to O’Hare. The boys and girls went through the TSA lines in separate groups. When we gave them time to get breakfast in the airport before boarding, the boys and girls sat separately after buying bagels or McDonalds. United assigned them separate seating on the 737; the boys seemed to be seated together, with the girls spread throughout the plane. We jumped into separate Metro cars on the trip to Bethesda from Reagan National.
On the giant escalator at the Bethesda Metro stop, the boys went first; then the girls followed. I think I only heard boys whooping.
Once we arrived at the Residence Inn and congregated in the lobby, the boys and girls went to separate corners.
One thing they did together: At 2:30 Chicago time when we arrived at the hotel the boys and girls were hungry again even after their 10:30 AM pre-flight breakfast snack. The chocolate chip cookies in the hotel lobby didn’t stand a chance.
We all went for a run in the rain–boys and girls separately. The girls followed Coach Matt Haffner from the hotel around the corner to a park entrance for the Georgetown Branch Trail; the boys ran away from their slow running coach, right past the entrance, into the residential neighborhood streets of Bethesda that lead into residential neighborhood streets of Chevy Chase. The boys went more than a mile before they realized they missed the trail entrance and backtracked. The boys passed the girls coming back on the trail as they were just entering the trail.
Later the boys and girls went their separate ways for dinner in downtown Bethesda. Most of the boys wanted pasta, and this was a meal on their dime. So we found them a small diner-style restaurant, where you pay at the counter, Stromboli’s Family Restaurant. Some of them chose pizza, some pasta; the coach ate a Stromboli, called a Christopher Columbus, which is a calzone with ground turkey, mushrooms, mozzarella, and marinara on the side. At my table, with sophomore Seamus Brennan, junior Sean Freeman, and senior Wil Hughes, the bill came to $57.00, with the tip.
The girls went north on Wisconsin Avenue to the somewhat trendier Red Tomato. Their dinner bills were a little bit higher.
The official rule for the trip is that boys and girls should not visit in each others’ rooms. By the time we returned to the hotel after dinner, the coaches were not really worried any longer that this was a big concern.
When boys and girls go to a cross country meet in Washington, DC, it seems, it is a guys’ weekend and a girls’ weekend.