You could smell the patriotism.
That, and the aftermath of an April shower that passed over The University of Maryland that morning.
The boys took advantage of it when their second game for the Beltway Bash was scheduled for that afternoon. With some free time and some fuel in their tanks, the team decided to visit the nation’s capitol.
Just as what they’ve grown accustomed to, the team’s fun began when they woke up to a cold and damp Saturday morning. The tired guys had stayed overnight at a hotel in College Park, Md, where they began the day with a lovely continental breakfast. If you ask me, there’s nothing that can wake a group of 32 guys up like the thought of pancakes, french toast, and eggs. After they got some food in their bellies, the boys got set for their trek to nearby Washington D.C.
They made it to D.C., when the rain clouds seemed to be done for the day (finally). A number of age-showing buildings lined the sides of the road; one reading “U.S. Department of Education.” These were just the beginning, of course. For some of these guys, this was their first time coming to this absolutely stunning city. Thankfully, the historic streets of D.C. welcomed the guys to an incredible adventure.
The team found themselves re-grouping at The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. They were astonished to realize that the large amount of people outside were actually waiting to get inside. After a second of wondering if they should get in line, the team decided to keep walking (and boy, were some of them relieved!). They walked on, noticing whole blocks full of food-trucks (some pretty sketchy ones, too).
The next leg of the journey resembled a scene out of a movie. The team then came into clear-view of some well-known behemoths; with the capitol building behind them and the Washington Monument before them. They then went on over to the towering obelisk, amazed as they stared up at its point. The walk-way vicariously lead the team through a multitude of fields where gorgeous kites filled the air. They also crossed paths with a dozen or more Shiba Inu dogs being walked by local dog club members. The air started becoming warmer as the team headed over to the beautiful, National World War II Memorial.
This is an immense and blood-stirring pool with twin fountains, ringed with the names of the 50 U.S. States and the five U.S. territories. This is where the team stopped for their first team photo. A few steps later and the team fell silent, taking-in the wall of the Reflecting Pool, where 400,000 stars represent the number of American deaths in World War II.
Next up on their journey, the team set their sights on the Lincoln Memorial, which sat just beyond the Reflecting Pool’s main body of water. The icon had a ton of visitors, including the ducks and seagulls swimming next to the team. When some happy lacrosse-players finally found themselves at the memorial, they looked back to see the Washington Monument staring back at them from way across the pool. This is where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, 53 years ago. His exact spot is inscribed: “I Have a Dream. Martin Luther King Jr. March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom. August 28th, 1963.”
A few steps below it was where the team took their second team photo. Then, it was an epic trip up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This is where Ryan Fisher happily beat the team to the top of the steps. Once the team caught up, they made their way into the huge memorial, where Lincoln sits on his white chair. It was the perfect spot for selfies! The team then shushed each other when they spotted a sign, reading “Quiet: Respect Please.”
The theme of silence continued when the team walked through the thought-provoking length of the Vietnam War Memorial. This long, stretch of black granite wall bares the names of the 58, 220 Americans who died in the war. Flowers and teddy bears decorated the base of the wall. The gifts gave the memorial a humanistic and personal touch. A group of lacrosse-players walked out of it with respect for those Americans.
That respect was something worth taking note of. It certainly was humbling.
Individually the monuments each had their own meanings, but together they meant something even greater. It’s kind of like the people living in the United States of America.
It’s kind of like a team of athletes too.
Our boys gave D.C. one last look that afternoon, and prepared themselves for game number three of the Beltway Bash!