This past week, the rugby team adventured to Columbus, Ohio for national playoffs. Though we lost, in a very tough bracket and a hard-fought game, the trip was memorable. In life, there are moments when the journey is absolutely worth more than the destination.
When we first arrived at the Day’s Inn, we thought the hotel was closed. The parking lot was empty, the pool contained trash, and the area surrounding the hotel looked to be under major construction. Great signs. After checking in, some of the girls looked inside the rooms and screamed. It was like the Bates Motel. Two of the rooms had non-functioning toilets, another had stained sheets, one had a falling ceiling, many had bugs. And one of the replacement rooms we were given was really a storage unit. Parents staying with the team were also woken up in the middle of the night by a homeless man banging on the door and asking for money.
It was no surprise that we called Expedia the next day for a refund and new hotel. What was a surprise was Expedia calling the hotel to cancel our reservations before we had booked new lodging. As a result, we were evicted from the lovely Day’s Inn.
While confirming our new hotel, the group visited downtown Columbus to kill some time and use free WiFi. At some point, one of the vans got towed and locked up. Once that situation was resolved, we arrived at the field where a nice gentleman introduced himself as not only a school alumni, but one of the men’s players who started the women’s team in 1995. He was so proud of the team and invited us to his store, The Candle Lab, to play at the fragrance bar and create our own scented candles (which was an AWESOME experience).
There was a continued series of other misadventures along the way, but the week culminated with a wait in line for Jeni’s Ice Cream. The line stretched out the store’s door and down the block. Though we were still recovering from our loss, the atmosphere was filled with laughter. The girls joked with one another about the challenges we had faced just trying to get to a clean hotel, and about how we were slowly shaking off our underdog reputation (accidentally leaving an entire set of jerseys at the field certainly didn’t help our argument…)
As the group spilled out of the store and onto the sidewalk, players sat together and passed around their ice creams. Everyone wanted to try what everything. The laughter never stopped. I enjoyed my ice cream (strongly recommend the Riesling poached pear sorbet, lime cardamom frozen yogurt, goat cheese and figs) and watched the girls bonding and having fun and just celebrating being together. It was the perfect ending to this trip, game loss and all.