June 12, 2012, Washington, DC: The boathouses of the Potomac River are a throwback to another era. The Potomac Boat Club first opened in 1869, a hub for Olympic caliber rowers, followed by the opening of the green-shingled Washington Canoe Club next door in 1904 — when Teddy Roosevelt was president and the sporting age was in full force. It’s easy to envision these boathouses as grand structures in their day, filled with elite athletes in training by day and visitors reveling in leisure time at night. It’s easy to picture the boathouses of the Potomac with a shiny new coat of paint and some twinkling lights bouncing off the water in the early evening.
July 23, 2011, Arlington, Va.: After blogging about summertime swims and a bike ride back to my old home, I knew there was one place I’d have to revisit during this project. I would have to return to the one place that mattered most to my family during our time in Arlington in the early 80s, and that place was Overlee pool.
If I didn’t go today, I’d miss the moment. This morning marked the last home swim meet of the season — against Chesterbrook, nonetheless, Overlee’s biggest rivalry back in the 80s. I was curious to see if the rivalry still existed, and to find out if Overlee would live up to the hype I’d created for it in my memory. I’ve long imagined Overlee to be a place of intense spirit and energy, a place with an unwavering sense of community. I wondered if it would feel small thirty years later, maybe less meaningful and more subdued.
I’m proud to say Overlee did not disappoint.