Friday, December 29, 2006


I'm pretty sure this year is over for me, at least rowing-wise. I can't even run without my back hurting a few hours later. Considering it's been about two months since my back started hurting, I'm going to wager that it's probably not the simple strain that they told me about at the infirmary at school. I've got an appointment on Tuesday with my physician here at home, and hopefully he'll be able to give me a better idea of what's going on and how to treat it.

This is honestly a little scary for me. I have a fairly high tolerance for pain, even outside of the normal pains of rowing; I know I could row through this if I really wanted to. However, I don't want to damage anything beyond what it already is, and I don't want to blow many more years of rowing over one collegiate season. I know I'm going to be at college for over four years anyways, so I could use this as a "redshirt" season. Beyond the injury, I have classes that are probably going to conflict as well, and it'd be better off for everybody if I just took the season off and got myself in order.

I haven't told my coach this yet; I haven't talked it over with any of my teammates. We start winter training next week, and I've already paid for the trip, I might as well go. I have no idea what I'm going to do while I'm down there. I'll probably end up the launch bitch, taking video footage and holding on to clothes for people. Oh boy.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Oh yeah, I almost forgot. This and this was put up on Row2k last night, a small conclusion to the post I made a few weeks ago about the dimishing support to be found for rowing in the world of collegiate athletics.


She's Pretty Much Everything I Could Want In A Woman

If anybody knows who this is and/or how I can find her, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
-The Oarsman

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


We were out for what was probably our last on-water practice today; the weather was chilly, but clear. This afternoon, it snowed, effectively killing any ideas our coach might have had about getting on the water tomorrow morning.

It was a good practice, though. We were planning on doing drills all morning, by fours on the way upriver, and by sixes and eights on the way back down. Nothing strenuous; an easy practice before our 6K test on Thursday morning.

Things went fine for the first half of the practice. Drills were done, handle heights were set, and pauses were implemented. The novice, coincidentally, were also out, barreling around at full speed by all eights while we plodded slowly through the fog. We had launched with sufficient time to get to the turn-around point before they were able to catch us. By the time we had spun around and stretched out, the novice had caught us and were resting for the second half of a set of four-minute pieces.

We started down, still working on the drills by four. Our boats stayed pretty close together, about two oars lengths apart, one boat adding pauses as necessary when the other began to fall behind. Our oars dipped gracefully, silently into the water, counting time for the resting four. Behind us, the novice had spun and had started again with the four-minute pieces. This time, they would surely pass us.

Mid-drill, the novice did flash by, in a flurry of oars, splashing water, and screams of "bowball!" Their coaches, who were on our varsity last year, zipped by in their launches, screaming along with their crews. "What do they want?" asked our coxswain. "We're rowing by fours, for God's sake."

Immediately, our coach turned to us. "Cox, take it up all eight, full pressure. Don't stop until you catch them." Our cox relayed the message to us, but we were already ahead of her. The next stroke, we were up all eight, and the stroke after that we were at a 28.

By this time, both novice boats had already moved a good distance on us. Later, I would find out that they had about five boat lengths on us before we brought it up to full pressure.

BOOM. Ca-Chunk. BOOM. Ca-Chunk. Our oars thudded in our oarlocks, hammering the water with each stroke. Puddles moved under us, our bodies swung, and our coxswain called the second novice boat a length down. We took them within the first 100 strokes. One down, one to go.

We thundered upon the first novices about fifteen strokes after we walked through their other boat. I looked over, seeing they were slowing, almost allowing us to overtake them. "I want their bow man in ten strokes!" our coxswain yelled. We wound it up, taking the rate a beat higher each stroke, moving through them in the ten strokes, our coxswain counting as each stroke took us up another seat. Seeing no need to upset a good rhythm, our coach had us race the other varsity eight back to the dock.

Fun practice? Yes. Easy practice? No.