Monday, April 10, 2006

The Things They Don't Teach You...

My team was racing at the Knecht Cup in New Jersey this weekend. It was a pretty terrible regatta. Bad weather, irate umpires, and unfair floating starts were the story of the day, at least on Saturday for the heats. A bunch of events were cut to allow for a break in the racing while the worst of the storm passed over us. Sunday was better, with warm weather and a light breeze. Much thanks for the hospitality of the host crew, Villanova, for allowing some of the freezing oarsmen to use their tent and the enclosed stove they had inside.

It's been a while since I'd been at a major regatta, where you're there for the entire day without reprive. Head racing season seems so long ago. And, of course, along with the memory of the pain of lactic acid buildup, I'd also forgotten one of the most important non-rowing related skills to have at a regatta. This is something that most coaches rarely, if ever, touch on during the racing season; more often, it's up to the individual oarsman to learn how to properly execute this action himself. This, my friends, is of course, what I have termed the regatta squat. Yes, to tame the ubiquitous blue or seafoam green port-a-potty that sends it's blue sanitary water smell throughout the tents, one must have an understanding of how to properly keep ones buttocks off of the seat. For, as Confucius once said, "man cannot count on Lysol alone, for there remains the .01% of the deadliest viruses."

Lo and behold, when my boat was getting ready to meet before our first heat, my bowels started to rumble. I excused myself, tellling my teammates that I would meet them at the trailer, and located the nearest vacant port-a-potty. Of course, the seat looked clean, but I wasn't going to take my chances. But, like I said, I'd forgotten the proper way to execute a regatta squat. So, not only do I almost touch the seat, but I also almost dump my ass straight through to the mound of blue waiting for me in the bottom. Lucky it was a handicap one, or else I might not have made it to my race alive.

So remember, my friends. Go slow. If there's a bar, hold on. And do your jumpies, because before the race, there's the pre-race jitters.


On a more serious note, the Harvard varsity heavyweight eight lost its first domestic race since the 2002 Eastern Sprints to Brown this weekend. Wisconsin captured the Sprints varsity eight title in 2002. Harvard's last dual loss prior to this weekend came on April 21, 2001, to Princeton for the Compton Cup. Throughout the streak, Harvard downed 32 opponents in 24 races, won a Temple Challenge Cup and Ladies Challenge Plate at the Henley Royal Regatta, and represented the United States as USA2 in the 2004 World Cup Lucerne stop, making it to the grand final in the M8+. While at Harvard the streak has been downplayed, this has been the rowing world's version of the University of Southern California's winning streak in Division I football the past two years. A major hand to the Brown Bears, as well as the Crimson for maintaining a perfect record at the highest levels of American collegiate rowing.