“Smush in,” Mike Lonergan told me Sunday afternoon, after I had jumped onto the orange line train
blue line train to Largo that was about to leave the Foggy Bottom station.
In truth, it was a pretty crowded car, especially for a Sunday afternoon. There were random people going wherever random people go on fall Sundays, plus people headed to the Redskins-Jets game, plus people headed to the BB&T Classic, plus a bunch of Division I basketball players and coaches and administrators and media members and at least one mascot.
“Any of you ladies want a seat?”forward Jabari Edwards asked the crowd. No one took him up on the offer.
The idea of going from Foggy Bottom to Gallery Place wasn’t to cause a spectacle. Lonergan, the Colonials’ first-year coach, had seen his mentor, Jack Bruen, do the same thing during a tournament in New York. And it seemed to fit the image he’s trying to craft of his school.
“We’re trying to sell that we’re a city school; we have a Metro stop right right on campus,” Lonergan said. “We thought it was a nice opportunity to cruise on over to Verizon Center. And truthfully, it’s more cost effective than renting a bus.”
But once the media and whatnot got a hold of this, it became a full-on thing; the gathering at the Foggy Bottom stop on Sunday included at least one PR person from Metro, the GW band, cheerleaders, the school president, former star Yegor Mescheriakov, fans, and various passers-by.
“What the f?” said one, walking past the spectacle.
“Hey guys, don’t noodle, because the police will come and shoot us,” said one of the band leaders as various brass members warmed up.
The team arrived a bit after noon, milled around briefly, and then went down the escalators and into the station, surrounded by journalists. The biggest drama I saw came when they encountered a puddle.
“Watch out, don’t bust your ass, wet spot!” someone yelled.
Team administrators yelled out instructions about going three stops before transferring, and hanging onto Metro cards, while Lonergan pointed out that his wife and children had shown up without Metro cards of their own. One assistant coach asked to make sure that no players had skipped the turnstiles. After a six-minute wait, we all crowded onto the train.
I bailed at McPherson Square so I could watch the Redskins on television; the Colonials kept going, and were greeted by more cheers when they emerged at Gallery Place. Then they lost to VCU, which will concern Lonergan a lot more than any more stories about their transportation methods.
Still, the images are awesome. These all come via George Washington; thanks to them for providing the photos.