Roundtable

How Chris and I Got on the Amazing Race

Well … Around August of 2000 I decided to quit my corporate job and set sail for St. John in the US Virgin Islands. I dropped off my car, which contained all my belongings, at Chris’s house near Clemson University, where he was finishing up school.

I spent a year down there bar tending and pretty much doing nothing but enjoying life, and returned just in time to see Chris graduate from college. We both drove back to Boston for the summer but neither of us had a clue what we were going to do. A buddy of ours from high school hooked us up with jobs teaching water skiing in Amesbury, MA. Both of us would sit back with our close friends from Boston whom we grew up with and talk about our futures. It was me, with an International Business degree, Chris with two engineering degrees and a Spanish minor, and our other friends, who ran a very similar pattern. But that summer we would all sit around drinking saying that there had to be a better way than real jobs.
Call it fate, I don’t know, but I came across this page that said they were looking for two people to compete in a round-the-world race.
I remember it like it was yesterday. We were all at my house and while my buddies sat on the porch enjoying the few good weeks of weather you get in New England, I sat in front of the computer, surfing the web. Anyone who knows me knows this is not my style to be away from the crowd sitting at the computer. Call it fate, I don’t know, but I came across this page that said they were looking for two people to compete in a round-the-world race.

Since I was a kid, travel was my passion, from living in Brazil during high school to working in sales in Germany to tending bar in the Caribbean. So let me say that when this page popped up, it grabbed my attention. I called Luca over to the computer…I said “Chris, we got to apply for this.” Chris and I have been good friends since we met on the bus going to kindergarten, and since then I have been convincing him to do some of the craziest things that somehow pop in my head.

Well, neither of us had a camera, so we had to borrow one from one of our buddies’ parents. We procrastinated so much that it came down to the last day before we would shoot and Fed Ex overnight to make the deadline.

It was about midnight and we finally started to shoot our demo on my porch. The lighting was horrible, we were half trashed, and we just started talking about our lives. At this point neither of us really thought we had a chance, but we shot a two-minute clip, packaged it up, and sent it out the next day.

A few weeks later, a good friend of ours said his dad had a bunch of airway miles, and if we painted his deck, his dad would give us enough to fly to Europe and back. Obviously, we painted the deck and off Chris and I went with our friend Andy. We had no clue where we were going. All we knew was that we were flying into Paris and flying out of Rome four weeks later.

My parents were at a Swiss chalet at the time, which was given to them as a gift for something I can’t remember. When our plane touched down in Paris, Chris and Andy wanted to spend some time in the city. Because I had lived in Munich for some time and spent many weekends in Paris, I decided to take off to see my folks, where Chris and Andy would meet me in a few days.

Chris and Andy showed up at the chalet about three days later and that was the beginning of it all. My family, along with Chris and Andy, were playing Monopoly when all of a sudden the phone rings. My mother jumped up saying, “since I have been here I have never heard the phone ring.” As any mother would do worrying about family back home, she rushed to the phone. Looking at Chris, she said “it’s your mother.” Everyone sat there quiet as we assumed something was wrong back home. I remember my parents saying that they never gave the phone number out before they left.
Chris gets off the phone with the biggest smile on his face. “AB (Alex Boylan), CBS just called my mom looking for us. They want us to meet them in NYC in a week.”
Chris gets off the phone with the biggest smile on his face. “AB (Alex Boylan), CBS just called my mom looking for us. They want us to meet them in NYC in a week.”

As excited as we were, it was weird, because we would have to leave our good friend whose dad had paid for us to go to Europe in the first place. We all talked it over and decided that you never get a shot like this and that we wouldn’t want to look back and say “what if?”

Chris, Andy, and I hauled ass down through the French Riviera, stopping one night in Monte Carlo to party, then on to Florence for a night, and finally Rome, where we had two days to see it all. We flew back to Boston where Chris’s mom had left a car at the airport for us to drive down to NYC. We finally got to NYC after traveling who knows how many miles.

I remember sitting in the waiting room as we were the next to go in when these two guys come out with a super cocky attitude who looked at Chris and me and said, “you may as well not try, we have it in the bag.” Chris and I just started laughing at these Guidos.

Anyway, the interview went as well as it could have, but it’s one of those things where you never really know if they liked you or not. It lasted maybe 20 minutes and we left. All that travel, leaving a free trip to Europe…we kept asking ourselves if it was it worth.
When we picked up our car to return to Boston, we passed the doors we exited from CBS. We noticed that both the casting girls, who just interviewed us, were outside smoking. We thought that had to be a good thing because we were the last team on their minds.
About 10 minutes before it was about to come on, the phone rang and it was the casting girls from CBS. They asked if we were watching the show and congratulated us on making it to the final round.
Three weeks later Chris and I were doing some construction work, both looking for jobs in our careers, when the first season of the Race premiered. Because of all we had been involved in thus far, we were making sure to catch the show and see what this whole thing was about. About 10 minutes before it was about to come on, the phone rang and it was the casting girls from CBS. They asked if we were watching the show and congratulated us on making it to the final round.
It was starting to get cold in New England, and waiting for these stages of casting is like waiting for rain in the desert. So we moved down to my old college town of Jacksonville, where some friends got us jobs tending bar.

We went to LA for the final interviews…it was torture. You are stuck in the hotel and put on lockdown. Not so bad for all the couples applying, but for two buddies it sucked. Beside the physiologist thinking that Chris had an anger problem, I was borderline ADD, and thinking that both of us had a drinking problem, we thought we did well. We would get subtle hints here and there from different people that they liked us.

I woke up the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 to the horrific scene of the Twin Towers in NYC. They quickly called Chris and me in and had us call our families. CBS was very concerned about us; you see, the plane going from Boston to LA was the flight that Chris and I were on, just five days earlier. Obviously, this challenged producers. Would there even be a second season?

Well about three months later we got the call that we were chosen and that we were to get on a plane to Las Vegas on January 2, 2002…The rest is history!!!

Cheers
Alex