Happy Halloween and Good Luck to everyone on their Halloween Row!!
Spooky FYI: Participating Starbucks are offering your choice of any Grande Frappuccino for just $3 anytime today after 2pm. Now all of you zombies out there can stay awake for Halloween. Try the Pumpkin Spice Frapp or the secret and scary Franken Frapp. Keep a goggly eye out too for the Chestnut Praline Latte due out November 12.
Spoiler Alert: The Franken Frapp is a Green Tea Frapp with the ghostly addition of white mocha, peppermint and java chips. Or for those ghouls familiar with the secret menu, it’s a lot like a Grasshopper Frapp.
On your Halloween Row?
Not all boathouses participate in an annual holiday row and some crews are done for the season, but for those who do participate in a Halloween Row, it’s a lot of fun and a chance for novice to strut their stuff racing against varsity.
What is a Halloween Row?
The Halloween Row is a race between all of the members of the Womens and Mens teams. Everyone gets a chance to race and every boat is outfitted in costume of a unifying theme. This is just a run race to lighten up practice between races and the dreaded indoor erging of winter indoor practice.
What to wear on your Halloween Row?
As a rower, my 8+ decked out as Santa’s Reindeer, where the coxswain was Santa and the Stroke was Rudolf and I was Donner. We all wore brown with little Reindeer ear headbands with gold bells, which rang in unison with every movement. The next year as a coxswain in a 4+ I was the ace in Poker’s Royal Flush. It’s a lot of fun and anything works. I’ve seen boats outfitted as the seven deadly sins, superheroes, and the best ever were our coaches dressed in costumes depicting the various reasons rowers miss practice.
Have fun and find some inspiration from these rowers:
Yesterday was a beautiful day for regattas. But the morning after is dark, cold and damp. Mondays are notorious for procrastinating and putting things off whether or not you were victorious the day before. And the dreariness of the day adds to the boring routine.
Things I do to get going are:
R2R prep the night before:
Check weather and plan accordingly
Lay out clothing
Set alarm realistically with backups to avoid falling back to sleep
R2R quick get up and go:
Splash cold water on face
Wear something bright, especially fluorescent colors
Run to practice
Brushing teeth in Laos
The Saratoga Rowing Association (SRA), in Saratoga Springs, New York, home to Skidmore, will host the Head of the Fish Regatta this weekend. Head of the Fish is one of the larger venues, so all of the sights and sounds of rowing are intensified. Yet even so, every launch site is as much the same as they are different. Except for a dry 2013, Head of the Fish is all about trudging through the muck. Saratoga is an elegant resort town known for summer horse racing, but for me it conjures images of mud and rowing under a large bridge filled with spectators cheering at the finish line. But before the race even begins, you are already weighed down from dragging yourself and your gear through the dense thick mud, without a single gleaning of grass in sight to save you from the quicksand. Mud gets everywhere seeping deep into your boots as the cold wet earth weighs down the heavy layers that try to keep you warm.
The SRA website is well organized and offers a lot of information, maps and an aerial photograph to become familiar with the course. Attending the Coach and Coxswain meeting is vital because of the S curve course. Coxswains need to carefully steer and direct rowers because the S curve course easily disqualifies boats for brushing too close to the buoys. To save time you need to get as close to the buoys as possible, your oars can go over the buoys but the shell cannot cross the buoy line. Row through the finish line as instructed before the bridge being careful of inexperienced boats stopped in exhausted excitement causing other boats to pile up in the same space. Coxswains need to instruct their boat to continue to row under the bridge and around the sitting boats. My favorite bit of rowing advice may be urban legend in the warning to stay on course as coxswains have gotten lost ending up on the Erie Canal!!!
R2R quick tips:
Set your watch to regatta time, the Regatta Officials are abruptly punctual.
Wear boots to cross over miscellaneous boards covering deeper puddles on the trek from the parking lot to your team’s site to unload the trailers and assemble boats.
Bring extra washers; they are
easily lost in the mud.
This course is known for having a lot of weeds. Rowers need to clear weeds off their blades and coxswains need to make sure there are no weeds on the skeg.
On your pumpkin bagel? Not red lentil hummus, that’s for sure. I tried to be healthy pairing hummus from my fridge with an only for this seasonal moment toasted crisp pumpkin bagel, autumn like a fall regatta, but it wasn’t the right lineup at all. One should stay away from the gluten and carbs and although, the lentil hummus was a healthy compromise, a slight smear of pumpkin cream cheese was sublime.
Happy 50th to the HOCR and good luck to everyone on the Charles!
“The Head of the Charles in Cambridge, Mass is the great American crew event, athletically and socially. It occurs the second weekend in October; secondary schools and colleges send shells in all categories in the three-mile race up the Charles River.”
-Lisa Birnbach, The Official Preppy Handbook
Congrats and good luck to John at the Head of the Charles this weekend. John brought home Gold at both the Riverfront and Housatonic regattas proving that mind over water and hard work pays off.
Having competed in the 2013 Head of the Charles Regatta with the UConn Men’s Crew Team in Boston with over 9,000 athletes and 300,000 spectators I know that rowing is a sport pursued by rowers of all ages who have one thing in common. We are passionately invested in our sport. We were lucky to be invited to row a challenging course with wide turns and too many bridges. And just being there is worth every sacrifice made to get there. But competing in the Head of the Charles at the collegiate varsity level takes more than a competitive spirit and the will to succeed. It takes support and funding. To row a boat, you need a boat and much more. There are many reasons for the inequality of support and funding for rowers, especially at the collegiate level, especially for Men’s Crew. Yet we still row.
Reason One: Title IX
Title IX has long been blamed as the reason for dropping many low profile Men’s collegiate teams. Yet Title IX is more complicated than keeping male and female participation levels equal. According to Peter Keating of ESPN, Title IX is not about imposing quotas based on the proportion of female athletes to female students but this is what Athletic Directors do to comply because it’s easier and less expensive to drop Men’s Athletic programs than to develop new ones to accommodate female athletes.
As rowers, we live in Under Armor! Check out this hilarious Funny or Die video featuring Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady as he tries to shop for our beloved brand.
“You’re killing fish, not rowing”
-Rower and Coach Jim Dietz, The Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal (2012) by David Halberstam