So we left off with my car of strangers discovering the rest of the team had been stranded in Tennessee because one of our race vans had already broken down.
So the car I'm in continues on to West Virginia to stay with more strangers who know the rest of the team, but not us. And I'm chatting along with the driver of my car and I mention that our team is officially promoting the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes - it's a program across high schools for... you guessed it, athletes who are also Christians. And I've been a Christian my whole life and it is nice to have a community of other believers and why not gather around a shared interest like sports? Except I wasn't really an "athlete" in school....I was on the dance team. Don't judge me. Shaking pom pons is sort of like exercise....)
So I mention Former Green Beret Robert also has FCA shirts for us to wear during the race. And the driver's face changes and he blurts out "that shirt is gunna burn on me!"
Oh dear, this isn't looking good. So I try to laugh and be like "well you don't have to wear the shirt and this group is cool, it'll be fun." So we continue until we pull into the West Virginia house
and it's not a house.
It's a parsonage. A parsonage is the house that a church pastor lives in and it's basically attached to the church.
My driver shows visible signs of duress.
He starts wiggling around in his seat saying "oh I don't know about this, not sure about staying at a church, oh man...." so me and the other stranger in the car are left to kinda look at each other and try to laugh it off. I mean, this is where our team is staying. The other option is -- the car-?
And I get why many people have a bad opinion of organized religion and Christianity so I really do feel bad that this guy is so uncomfortable now. But I also feel like throwing up my hands like -What's next?! I jump in a car with a stranger unknowingly, my team is nowhere near us, our van broke down, and now I have a driver realizing he's accidentally joined an entire team of people he's clearly afraid of.
This is so typical.
So finally the Pastor walks out of his front door to see who is in his driveway and I think I blurt out something like "we're with Robert!" Like some alien leading with "We come in peace!"
And we all find random places to sleep in the parsonage and I'm told there's another girl coming with the team that will need to share my bed when she arrives. And sure enough, shortly after I lay down, a girl tip-toes into my room and jumps in bed with me, no words exchanged.
So I get up the next morning and apparently I'm the last one to join the team meeting taking place in the living room, unbeknownst to me, so I finally hear a collective "Hey Dana!" and I have to walk in sheepishly to a room of MORE strangers, and wave at all them with an "oh hey guys..."
and that's how I met my team.
I finally found the other guy on the team that I'm actually friends with when we all stop to grab breakfast, and I announce that I "still don't know the name of the girl I slept with last night" and we giggle. Then I go to the ladies room -
and discover my shorts have been on inside-out the entire morning.
And so begins Race Day 1.