Month: July 2018

A different Kind of Talent

I don’t belong to a rowing crow at the university because I have to. It is not a requirement to follow a sport, nor is it for basic exercise. It falls into the category of a true passion. I can’t say enough about the enjoyment that comes with my time on the river. I am lucky to have this opportunity right nearby. It is all about upper body strength and stamina like any athletic endeavor with a pinch of coordination here and timing there. Thus, it is an all-around means of maintaining good health, a toned body, while having a lot of fun. Participating in tournaments is another plus.

Given that I am often found at the water’s edge, it is not surprising that things happen there. People watching as we pass by in our boats comment or ask questions. I say goodbye to my fellow rowers and plan future meetings and activities at the same time. Recently, I saw a man who was carrying his handmade wood canoe. He was such an anomaly among the college students. From where did he come? I had never seen the likes of him before.

I was aghast. This is truly a different kind of talent from mine. I wouldn’t mind learning more about woodworking, especially in regard to a vessel to practice rowing. You can make it to your specifications and finish it as you like. Sizes are pretty standard and there are waterproofing requirements. I will keep this idea in the back of my mind for future leisure time. (I might have to wait awhile, given our heavy competition schedule).

I never was a do it-yourselfer before, although my father was quite good with woodworking tools and was a member of this web site: It is an art to make cabinets, furniture, or decorative objects. It takes practice and motivation, qualities I devoted to rowing instead. I do admire anyone who can use his hands at a craft and execute something like a wood project. Others say the same thing about me—how did I select the sport and develop the skill to excel.

I saw the man with the canoe only one other time. I took the opportunity to look his work over and inspect the canoe construction. He started talking about the process, based on old Indian lore. How does one even access such information? Technology was primitive at best. Nonetheless, the boats worked fine and served their owners well for centuries. No fiberglass for this man. He was authentic through and through. How many other items can we make ourselves that reflect the past? Going retro or off the grid is popular all of a sudden. It is fun for a while, but I would never win a race in such a vessel.

Yet Another Cold Shower

My story today is about camaraderie and friendship in a new guise. I want to tell you about the time a group of us had to make summer plans. As background, I have a lot of buddies from the rowing teams at the university. The junior and senior teams are loaded with my fellow travelers who love the sport. We spend a lot of time watching tapes and talking about techniques as you can well imagine. We also do a lot of things together in our spare time. We go to the gym, for a meal, or attend an expo. Along different lines, a few of us decided to rent a place off campus for the summer to get off campus. It found a budget place suitable for students, but not much else. The plumbing left a lot to be desired. So did the décor and appliances.

One of my biggest pet peeves that summer was the lack of sufficient hot water for three burly guys who like to take long showers. We didn’t know, and it was too late by the time we found out. We had paid our deposit and moved our belongings. We were busy practicing our rowing to keep in shape for the fall competitions. I was the first to become bombarded unexpectedly by a blast of cold water after I had already situated myself under the spray head. No amount of fiddling with the knobs helped stop the freezing deluge.

Students are fairly tolerant as a species and live in all kinds of compromised conditions, but this was over the acceptable line. We could tough it out (all of us voted no) or bitch to the landlord. No matter how the stove or refrigerator worked, or if there was central air conditioning or a floor fan, we expected hot water at the very least. I volunteered to make the call. I wasn’t optimistic and readied myself for an argument. I don’t enjoy confrontation and was prepared for the worst.

Surprise! Without a peep, the landlord dutifully agreed to check out the faulty water heater and repair or replace it in due time with one of these tankless units: It only took a few days to get results. The moral of the story is to trust in your building manager because we got a new energy-efficient tankless model that worked like a charm. No one envisioned a top-grade unit with all the bells and whistles. You can have as much hot water you want at any time of day or night with easy-to-prepare settings. We are now a bunch of happy campers, or rowers, if you will.

The Quest for a New Coxswain

It’s my semester end I am already worked up with my assignments but one thing that is eating up my head, as well as my teammates’, is the need of a new coxswain. Our coxswain has left the state as he has gone into another team who is paying him well. Guess it’s time to get hold of a new one.

Who’s a coxswain?

They are short stature, confident, athletic-built person, who has good leadership personalities. They are not just short people who shout a lot and have a rude temperament but they make up for the most important part of the rowing team who actually leads the team.

Precisely, if you ask me, they are the coach at that very moment in the boat who coaxes you to finish up first. Their tasks make them unforgiving to the situation where they give his or her teammates the exact version of the other boats and how far they are from the finishing line. So, the coxswain is the best person to listen to when rowing who can actually make or break the race for you and your team!

Tips for search: While this search was going on I realized some deep understating for getting hold of a proper coxswain and what all one shouldn’t do while recruiting them.

– They are there to lead you, so be respectful:

I have often seen many rowing teams opting for harsher kind of advertisements in their flyers such as “Are your short?” or “Is being loud comes naturally to you?”. Or say, “do you suffer from Napoleon complexities?” for attracting coxswains but there are better ways to do so.

A proper way to advertise with interesting flyers for advertisements which precisely says about the role of a coxswain in the team helps in getting the right one. Experienced coxswains often get offended owing to such advertisements.

– Don’t treat them like an accompaniment but like an athlete:

Just how important you are for your team as a rower that’s the same importance that you need to attach to a coxswain you are attracting. Try to give them ideas about how exciting the journey would be for them if they join your team.

Things such as learning leadership skills, practice races and other launches are the best way to give them the idea that you and your team will value them just like you do to the other rowers.

– You need a coxswain who can help you win in the future:

While advertising for coxswains, I got some idea about how we should showcase that we have won great races this season and that is the best way to attract good coxswains. But in reality, if you don’t want to get rejected for the process avoid this strategy. Most experienced coxswains would want to join because they want to display their potential of being one and not just an accompaniment.

I and my team have had a tough time searching for Nigel (that’s our coxswain). Hope your search won’t be as frenzied as ours.

Nigel says, Happy Rowing!